Mulgrew Miller, Live at Yoshi’s Volume 1

Dylan Hicks

By Dylan Hicks

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Live at Yoshi's Volume 1

Mulgrew Miller

Over the past few years, the Bad Plus and bands led by Matthew Shipp, Jason Moran, and Brad Mehldau have enlivened the piano-trio format with inventive or at least atypical repertoire, rhythms, group dynamics, and recording techniques. Another way to go about enlivening the piano-trio format is to play each long-in-the-tooth standard as if it remained a launching pad to metaphorical expressions of the human experience (and also a good source of chord changes over which to have fun making stuff up).

Mainstream jazz that’s as averse to MOR boredom as cats are to swimming.

Mulgrew Miller's trio follows the latter method, an old, good trick. The result is mainstream jazz that's as averse to MOR boredom as cats are to swimming. Miller's no showboat, but he is a dazzler, and there's joy in hearing someone's fingers do things that seem impossible, getting such perfect, expansive tone, and improvising with such precision without ever sounding clinical.