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Live at the Kennedy Center - Volume One by Mulgrew Miller

Mulgrew Miller is the complete jazz pianist. He combines full command of the piano's orchestral possibilities with an intuitive sense of musical adventure. Live at the Kennedy Center presents him in a trio setting at the 2002 opening of the Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club. This new release follows Live at Yoshi's - Volumes One and Two, also on the MAXJAZZ label. Miller's bandmates are Derrick Hodge on bass, from the Yoshi's sessions, and the multi-talented drummer Rodney Green. With only five tunes (two standards, two originals and a bop anthem) the program provides lots of opportunity for exploration and interplay. It is clear throughout that this is a trio effort. Miller projects power, not domination.

"If I Should Lose You" opens with Miller in a romantic mood. Then big bass chords make the transition to swing. The title theme is spun through time. Power builds with a lightness of touch and the tune ends as it began. "Skylark," described by Alec Wilder as having one of the most extraordinary releases he had ever heard, is Hoagy's gift to improvisors. The trio uses rhythmic and harmonic invention in an interpretation that combines intensity and tenderness.

Miller's original, "When I Get There," is a Monk-flavored blues which the group takes through percussive twists and turns without ever losing that blues feeling. His "From Day to Day,"a jazz waltz with an appealing melody, alternates moments of intimacy and hard-driving swing with some impressionistic piano comping behind Hodge's eloquent bass solo. The virtuoso bop lines of Bird's "Relaxin' at Camarillo," punctuated by Green, bring the session to a barn-burning close. All of this was superbly recorded by the late David Baker.

There is no doubt that the enthusiastic audience stayed for the second set! As for me, I just can't wait for Volume Two.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mulgrew Miller
  • CD Title: Live at the Kennedy Center - Volume One
  • Genre: BeBop / Hard Bop
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: MAXJAZZ
  • Tracks: If I Should Lose You, When I Get There, From Day To Day, Skylark, Relaxin At Camarillo.'
  • Musicians: Mulgrew Miller (piano, arranger), Derrick Hodge (bass). Rodney Green (drums).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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