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Mulgrew Miller Live at the Kennedy Center, Vol. 2

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Album Review

The second portion of a 2002 performance at the Kennedy Center by Mulgrew Miller is every bit as enjoyable as the initial volume issued by Max Jazz a few months earlier, with most of the numbers stretching for twelve minutes or more, but without wearing out their welcome. The pianist's power is displayed in his turbulent "Song for Darnell," while his soulful, strutting "Grew's Tune" ought to have lyrics. "Farewell to Dogma" is a poignant ballad with a bit of gospel flavor in its introduction, though it changes character dramatically when the rhythm section (bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Rodney Green) make their delayed entrance. Miller's virtuoso interpretation of the standard "Old Folks" is a masterpiece, finding plenty of new ground to explore within this old chestnut. He throws his audience a bit of a twist by closing with his composition "Eleventh Hour," which begins as a infectious original boogie woogie, though it suddenly switches gears into an explosive post-bop setting. The intimate recording is due to the skills of the acclaimed recording engineer David Baker, who passed away before this rewarding CD was released. Highly recommended!


Born: August 13, 1955 in Greenwood, MS

Genre: Classical

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

An excellent pianist who played in a style influenced by McCoy Tyner, Mulgrew Miller was quite consistent throughout his career. He was with Mercer Ellington's big band in the late '70s and had important stints with Betty Carter (1980), Woody Shaw (1981-1983), and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1983-1986). For a long period, he was a member of the Tony Williams Quintet (1986-1994). In addition, Miller led his own sessions for Landmark...
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