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Remembering the Way Home

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Album Review

After plenty of time spent in small-group formats (including the short-lived Monk's Dream trio with piano and organ together), Chicago pianist Steve Million took the opportunity to make his first solo piano recording. Interestingly, instead of his previous influences in Monk and others, Million makes use of a more recent foray into classical music as a seed for creation here. All the works are original compositions from Million (with the exception of a Scriabin prelude that he rearranged), and feature a delicate touch on the piano. Where Monk might recompose a piece to play with its rhythm, Million employs little of that approach (though there is a Monk-like passage in "The Way Home"). Instead, he takes to the compositions as a third stream player, bringing jazz sensibilities to classical motives. The pieces sparkle and shimmer under Million's fingers, remaining beautiful as they cascade out bar by bar. The sheer beauty of the performance is the key to this record. The compositions don't lend themselves to great flights of exploration or heavy grooves (and neither does the solo piano format, for that matter), but they provide a fine canvas for Million to paint his pictures. The notes drip from him, and the songs form themselves along the way. Remembering the Way Home may not fit with a lot of straightforward jazz collections, but the performances here make for an outstanding album.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

A fixture on the Chicago jazz scene since 1988, pianist Steve Million finally made his recorded debut as a leader in the mid-1990's with Million To One (on Palmetto), featuring Randy Brecker and Chris Potter. Million remembers seeing and talking to Count Basie when he was seven. Although he played a little bit of piano as a child, he did not take music seriously until high school. Million spent a year at North Texas State and then studied classical music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City....
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Remembering the Way Home, Steve Million
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