Mulgrew Miller: Dreamsville




Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan


The Sequel (MAXJAZZ 204)

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Mulgrew Miller (piano), Steve Wilson (soprano sax).

Composed by Henry Mancini, Raymond Evans & Jay Livingston


Recorded: New York, June 5-6, 2002


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Mulgrew Miller has been one of the most in-demand sideman pianists for many years, which has found him playing in top-notch groups ranging from drummer Tony Williams's quintet in the 1980s and early '90s to bassist Dave Holland's newly reorganized assemblage today. While Miller has also done several piano trio recordings as a leader, Wingspan has been the larger group that he has maintained off and on. The Sequel came 15 years after Wingspan's first release in 1987, and was also Miller's first recording under his own name in seven years.

For "Dreamsville," a theme from the old Peter Gunn TV series about a jazz-loving detective, Miller and Steve Wilson go it alone, their other four bandmates sitting this one out. Wilson, like Miller a valuable veteran sideman, has graced many groups (e.g., Chick Corea's Origin), with his fine underappreciated alto, soprano and flute work. Together they produce a wondrous track. Miller's heartfelt intro sets up Wilson's purring, deliberately paced reading of the theme on soprano, which makes room for the pianist's magnificent chordal and arpeggiated fills. Miller solos first with a sparkling sound and well-crafted, precisely articulated lines. Wilson responds in kind, mixing legato embellishments of the melody with highly expressive upper-register ascending runs, while Miller contributes succinct yet enhancing accompaniment. Wilson caps this beguiling performance with a concise, beautifully resolved coda.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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