The Mulgrew Miller Trio
Mulgrew Miller – Piano
Derrick Hodges – Bass
Karriem Riggins – Drums
Last night, I went to Yoshi’s to hear the Mulgrew Miller Trio for $8. It was cheaper than a movie and the trio was outstanding. It was also a live recording which will hopefully be used for one of his future MAXJAZZ albums. Mulgrew opened the set with the Duke Jordan composition “Jordu” and then serenaded us with a slow intro into Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” which flowed into a mid-tempo groove. He also moved slowly into “Comes Love” which swelled into a bouncy groove then took us right to Sunday morning with the Duke Ellington composition “Come Sunday.” Mulgrew also demonstrated some superb solo piano work on “It’s Easy To Remember.” Karriem Riggins kept excellent time on the drums showcasing his ability to discern the perfect beats for each movement. Derrick Hodges was great on the upright bass but I would have liked to have heard a few more solos from him. The trio closed with one of Mulgrew’s own compositions, “Pressing The Issue“, which was filled with spicy Latin rhythms. Mulgrew reminded me a bit of McCoy Tyner in the way that he sang to his keys and kept time with his left foot. He used his piano keys sparingly yet effectively. At any time, he could move from one end of the keys to the other but his melodies came from a center pocket of keys and he played them well.
I first heard Mulgrew on Cassandra Wilson’s early recordings. He also played with Betty Carter and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and was one of the founding member of the Tony Williams’ Quintet. His latest MAXJAZZ album, The Sequel, was recorded with his band, Wingspan, which he founded 15 years ago. He has his own unique style infused with elements of gospel, rhythm & blues, classical and straight ahead jazz. Read more about Mulgrew on his MAXJAZZ homepage.