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Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan: The Sequel

C. Michael Bailey By

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Perhaps the most underrated pianist playing?

Mulgrew Miller has always been a hidden treasure. He has recorded as a sideman much more than as a leader and in both cases done so at the top of his form. Considered part of the "lost generation" of jazz musicians who came of age between Miles Davis? second great quintet and heyday of Fusion, Miller has never the less excelled and established himself a place in jazz that is both unique and vital.

The Sequel is Miller's reassembly of his band Wingspan and his debut on the MAXJAZZ label for their Piano Series. The recording contains eight new Miller originals with "Dreamsville" and "It Never Entered My Mind" included on the standards end. The music swings with a wholesome, well-behaved lilt. The solos are all informative and the band composition perfect. Duane Eubanks (brother of Kevin and Robin) provides an absolutely beautiful open-bell trumpet tone, while Steve Wilson's reeds are sensitive and rhythmic. Steve Nelson provides the vibe for the band, performing with an anti-Milt Jackson tone that is entirely his own.

Miller's composing has only improved over the past years, providing his muse with intelligent power tempered by a soft touch. Nothing smokes here or even simmers. The music is cooly refreshing like a chilled soup - wonderful. The Sequel is a beautifully conceived recording that is a must for all Mulgrew fans.


Track Listing: Go West Young Man, The Sequel, Elation, Holding Hands, Know Wonder, Dreamsville, Spectrum, It Never Entered My Mind, Just a Notion, Samba D'Blue

Personnel: Mulgrew Miller (piano), Steve Nelson (vibes), Steve Wilson (alto and soprano sax), Duane Eubanks (trumpet), Richie Goods (bass), Karriem Riggins (drums)

Title: The Sequel | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: MAXJAZZ


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