STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Spotlight on Mulgrew Miller


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This week, our video spotlight shines on pianist Mulgrew Miller, who will be back in St. Louis to perform Wednesday, September 23 through Saturday, September 26 at Jazz at the Bistro. The 54-year-old Miller is one of the most recorded jazz pianists of his generation, and will be familiar to many St. Louis listeners from his previous dates at the Bistro (as both sideman and leader) and through his affiliation with the locally based label MAXJAZZ.

Miller has released a total of five CDs on MAXJAZZ, the most recent being the second volume of Live at the Kennedy Center, which came out in 2007. His appearance here later this month will help celebrate ten years in business for MAXJAZZ, which has offices in Webster Groves. (More about that in a subsequent post...)

In the first video clip up above, Miller can be heard playing “I Hear A Rhapsody," accompanied by Ira Coleman on bass and Mark Johnson on drums. The second video, recorded at Duc des Lombards jazz club and restaurant in Paris, shows an excerpt from Miller's interpretation of “Relaxin' at Camarillo," performed with the help of bassist Ivan Taylor and drummer Rodney Green. Unfortunately, it cuts away as Miller seems poised to take his solo to the next level, but there's still some very fine playing up until that point.

At the bottom, there's a clip with excerpts from a performance at NYC's Kitano's by Miller's quartet with vibes played Steve Nelson. Though the live audio is poorly balanced, with Nelson and the drummer overwhelming Miller and the bassist, the voiceover portions featuring Miller talking about his philosophy of music offer interesting insights into his creative process.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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