Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller: The Art Of Piano Duo - Live


Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller: The Art Of Piano Duo - Live


Sign in to view read count
Kenny Barron & Mulgrew Miller: The Art Of Piano Duo - Live
Genius in 20 fingers and 176 keys. That's what we have right here. The late Mulgrew Miller and the very present Kenny Barron each represent something of a gold standard in jazz piano, so it's no surprise that they meshed well whenever they met. This collection delivers three duo concerts from that pair—one captured in Marciac, France in 2005; the others recorded two days apart in different cities in Switzerland in 2011—and the results speak volumes about these two giants of the music.

Rather than engage in a cutting contest to treat this like sport, each man plays off the luxuriant contributions of the other. It's a show of mutual respect and a comfortable partnership, playing out beautifully across more than three hours of music. Barron and Miller both take their time exploring every nook of each song and every recess formed by their fertile minds. One moment in a single song might find cascading streams of notes undergirded with block chords; another may deal with sprinkled melody atop stride piano suggestions; a third could succeed by ratcheting up rhythmic and harmonic tension; and a fourth may present dizzying chromatic chutes and ladders juxtaposed against one another. All of these match-up techniques come and go at a moment's notice and there's clear logic in each and every transition, sudden or seamless in nature.

Those listeners searching for a little spirit and vibrancy will find plenty—runs and spirals on a zesty "Recorda Me," bluesy bravado during "Blue Monk," bona fide bop on "Yardbird Suite" and "Joy Spring"—but Barron and Miller also enjoy dropping into nostalgic corners here and there. And while the art of the duo is the explicitly-stated topic at hand, each man also goes it alone once at each concert. These solo pieces typically turn out to be the prettiest on the programs. Left alone to ponder, each player conjures winsome wonders. Barron's "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most," for example, is the most awe-inspiring of balladic charmers, and Miller's "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good" finds him testifying to the song's truths in late- night mode.

A remembrance of three incredible nights from two beautiful musicians, this three-disc set serves as a reminder that they don't make them like this anymore. Miller is sorely missed and Barron remains a national treasure.

Track Listing

Disc 1-Stars Fell On Alabama; When Lights Are Low; Recordame; Intro By Mulgrew Miller; Song For Abdullah; Intro By Kenny Barron; It Never Entered My Mind; I Mean You; Blue Monk. Disc 2-It Could Happen To You; You Stepped Out Of A Dream; Intro By Kenny Barron; Never Let Me Go; Intro By Mulgrew Miller; Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most; I Mean You; Have You Met Miss Jones. Disc 3; Yardbird Suite; Intro By Kenny Barron; When Lights Are Low; The Very Thought Of You; I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Memories Of You; Joy Spring.


Kenny Barron: piano; Mulgrew Miller: piano.

Album information

Title: The Art Of Piano Duo - Live | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Blue Topaz
Peter Hand
Midnight Rose
Paul Rodgers
Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and...
Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Modern Art Trio
Franco D'Andrea, Franco Tonani, Bruno Tommaso.


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.