Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mulgrew Miller: The New And The Old Guard

Mulgrew Miller (piano; b. 1955)
Solo (Space Time Records)

A frequent session member with Woody Shaw, Betty Carter, Art Blakey, Tony Williams and more recent times with saxophonist, Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller is one of the few masters of the piano of the last three decades. With Art Tatum, Pud Powell, McCoy Tyner and the great Oscar Peterson as his guide, Miller has created a body of work that is insurmountable in regards to musicianship and composition.

Mulgrew Miller has over 15 albums to his credit, many of them in and out of print. It is beyond difficult to find Miller's works at your local record (or used record store) but I assure you if you find one pick it up, you wont be disappointed. His most recent Solo (Space Time Records) is live album and a prime example of Mulgrew Miller's mastery. I have seen him over a dozen times and it is always an magically event to watch the "Big Man" come on stage and gently let loose a cavalcade of notes in astonishing fashion. Solo is evening that runs smoothly through a host of standards which Miller delivers with quite beauty and a harmonic sense of realism.

This is definitely an intimate evening and everyone listening knows it. Lovely, absolutely lovely precision work from Miller from the opening "Jordu," and the audience definitely enjoy the ballads "Carousel" and "My Old Flame". There's some heavyweight playing on the closing number, John Coltrane's "Giant Steps"--fantastic stuff and shows exactly why he is considered one of the best pianist of his generation.

I have only been only been able to find Solo as a digital download so if anyone knows where I could get a physical copy I would love to know. Mulgrew Miller is one those completely under appreciated pianist that deserves wider recognition. I believe Solo is one of those records that can prove it to anyone.

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