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Album Review

The Sequel has a threefold meaning for pianist Mulgrew Miller and his listeners. First, it reunites him with Wingspan, the reputable quintet he formed in 1987; second, it ends his self-imposed seven-year hiatus as a bandleader; and third, it is his debut for the Max Jazz recording label. This highly enjoyable recording features ten great jazz songs in their pure form on which members of the ensemble excel. Wingspan is comprised of Steve Nelson, Steve Wilson, Duane Eubanks, Richie Goods, and Karriem Riggins, all of whom have established themselves in the jazz idiom as remarkable leaders and sidemen in their own right. Mulgrew Miller wrote eight new songs including the opening composition, "Go East Young Man." This song features excellent soloing from Eubanks, Wilson, Nelson, and Miller, who unify their ideas at the coda with a strong display of harmonics and textures. "The Sequel" utilizes the swing beat and features impeccable piano playing by Miller as well as stellar trumpeting from Duane Eubanks. "Know Wonder" is a great blowing vehicle for Steve Wilson, who plays his soprano saxophone with an exotic Eastern flavor. Despite the fact that Miller stayed away from the limelight as a bandleader, his competency as a sideman on over 200 recordings during that seven-year hiatus obviously provided the solid springboard from which this masterful achievement evolved. Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan is a distinctive group from which jazz aficionados can expect to hear beautiful melodies interpreted with precise beats, excellent improvisation, and modern mainstream jazz in its pure forms and styles.

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The Sequel, Mulgrew Miller & Wingspan
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