Mulgrew Miller Trio
Selected by a New York Times poll as one of the “most in-demand” pianists in jazz, Mulgrew Miller was picking out melodies on the piano by ear at age six, taking lessons at age eight, and gigging with his older brother by age 11. As a teen, he soaked up every kind of music available in his small southern hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi -- blues, country & western, gospel, R&B, and classical -- but he didn’t find his passion until he heard his first jazz record featuring Oscar Peterson. Miller’s mentors included pianist James Williams, saxophonist Bill Easley and Ray Charles’ sideman saxophonist, Rudolph Johnson.
These influences, combined with the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the lessons of the civil rights movement integral to his childhood, shaped him as both a person and an artist.
A skilled, swinging player and an inventive soloist, Miller’s personal sound was forged from longtime associations with jazz legends like Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin and Tony Williams. He spent three years with Shaw’s Quintet, three with the Mercer Ellington Orchestra and over six years with the Tony Williams Quintet. Featured on over 400 recordings to date, he made his first recording as a leader in 1985 for producer Orrin Keepnews’ former label, Landmark, and later recorded on the RCA Novus label.
He composes and tours nonstop, and in 1997, was invited to tour Japan with an assembly of some of the most prestigious names in jazz piano – a group of ten pianists called “100 Gold Fingers” including the late Tommy Flanagan, Ray Bryant and Kenny Barron. In 2005, Miller accepted the position of Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University. He was a close musical and personal associate of former William Paterson Jazz Studies Director, the late James Williams. Cited by the venerable Hank Jones as one of Jones’ favorite pianists, Miller was the recipient of an honorary doctorate by Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, in May 2006.
For his MAXJAZZ debut, The Sequel, Miller reinvigorated Wingspan, the reputable sextet he founded almost 20 years ago. Requests have come in from around the world to book the re-established group, increasing Miller’s already active touring schedule. Miller also performs trio, duo and solo projects such as the trio recording of Live at Yoshi’s Volumes One and Two. Other innovative projects include his duos with Danish jazz bassist, the late Neils Henning Orsted Pederson, his commissions to compose special works and his student workshops.
“Mulgrew Miller is rapidly earning his place as one of America's most inventive and talented jazz pianists." -- All About Jazz
“True to his blues-tinged upbringing, he's a bop intellectual with an unabashed gift for populism. That explains both the thundering jabs in his sparkling runs and the sleekness in his writing and arranging" --Time Out NY
"Perhaps the leading pianist of his generation." -- Boston Globe