Classic Jazz Pianist Mulgrew Miller Dead At 57

Mulgrew Miller, whose soulful touch and rhythmic aplomb made him a strong fixture in mainstream Jazz for more than 30 years Mulgrew Miller , died Wednesday, May 29 in Allentown, Pa.  He was only 57. “The cause of death was due to a massive stroke,” said his longtime manager, Mark Gurley. Mr. Miller passed quietly after being hospitalized in ICU just five days ago. He was a widely respected bandleader, working either with a trio or with the group he called  Wingspan,named after the title of his second album. The blend of alto saxophone and vibraphone on that album recorded on Landmark Records in 1987. Mr. Miller revived that Band in 2002 on “The Sequel” (Max Jazz), working with veteran vibist, Steve Nelson.  Among Mr. Miller’s releases in the last decade were an impeccable solo piano album and four live albums featuring his dynamic trio.
Mulgrew developed his voice in the 1970s, combining the bright precision of bebop, as exemplified by Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson, with the clattering intrigue of modal jazz, especially as defined by McCoy Tyner. His balanced but assertive style was a model of fluency, lucidity and bounce, and it influenced more than a generation of younger pianists. Some people would say, his sideman credentials overshadowed his solo career. He played on hundreds of albums and worked in a series of celebrated bands. His most visible recent work had been with celebrated bassist, Ron Carter, whose  Golden Striker Trio featured Mr. Miller and guitarist Russell Malone on equal footing; the group released a live album, “San Sebastian” (In+Out), this year.
Born in Greenwood, Miss., on Aug. 13, 1955, Mr. Miller grew up immersed in Delta blues and gospel music. After picking out hymns by ear at the family piano, he began taking lessons at age 8. He played the organ in church and worked in soul cover bands, but devoted himself to jazz after seeing Mr. Peterson on television, a moment he later described as pivotal. At Memphis State University, he befriended two pianists, James Williams and Donald Brown, both of whom later preceded him in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
Mr. Miller spent several years with the Jazz Messengers, just as he did with trumpeter Woody Shaw, singer Betty Carter and  The Duke Ellington Orchestra, led by Ellington’s son, Mercer. Mr. Miller worked in a quintet led by Tony Williams from the mid-1980s until shortly before Williams death in 1997. Mulgrew Miller’s survivors include his wife, Tanya; his son, Darnell; daughter, Leilani; and a grandson. He resided in Easton, Pa. follow the writer #Robert J.Carmack :blues2jazzguy on twitter

Noted Jazz Master Pianist Mulgrew Miller Hospitalized After Massive Stroke


Mulgrew Miller




#wingspan_With saddening news, I was informed by jazz insiders late this week regarding Jazz Pianist #Mulgrew Miller  was rushed to an unnamed hospital after  suffering  a severe Stroke. Close friends and family are asking fans to keep Mulgrew in their prayers. No details were offered at this time. As more information becomes available,we will share that on this blog. 

2013 NEA JAZZ MASTERS HONORED AT LINCOLN CENTER (click link for the full presentation on NPR stream)

National Endowment for the Arts recognized its 2013 class of Jazz Masters on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The honor is the highest federally supported award for jazz artistry; those recognized receive a $25,000 grant and a tribute performance.

The class of 2013 included alto saxophonist, Lou Donaldson,Village Vanguard classic Jazz club owner,Lorraine Gordon,Pianist/Songwriter, Mose Allison and Latin Jazz icon Eddie Palmieri. In addition to the grant, NEA awardees are also invited to live performances and educational programs across the country. “Hanging” with the 86-year-old Lou Donaldson, were the 86-year-old Jimmy Heath and electrifying drummer, Roy Haynes(87).  On hand as the house-band during the award ceremonies were  previous NEA jazz masters recipients, Ron Carter Bass, Jimmy Cobb on drums and Pianist Kenny Barron.


Lou Donaldson joined by fellow jazz masters, Jimmy Heath and Roy Haynes



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 It’s about time for somebody to clear their proverbial throats in the male category of singers .  #Gregory Porter is starting to answer the call each and every time. Enjoy a sample of this #Grammy-nominee’s sound. #Hipster Sanctuary will revisit this fabulous young singer in the coming weeks.follow on twitter; #@blues2jazzguy

1960 What   Greg Portergregory Porter Now

FUNK INC. OLD SCHOOL SOUL FROM THE CRATES    The return of Funk, Inc., one of the most popular soul jazz combos of the Seventies, is a remarkable story. Formed in 1969 by organist Bobby Watley, the Indiana-based group was signed to Prestige Records two years later by producer Bob Porter. The band’s inspired blend of impassioned jazz improvisation and riveting funk grooves was given a highly enthusiastic reception by disc jockeys and record buyers across the country, as well as by critics. Ace Records in England reissued all five of the Prestige discs—Funk, Inc., Chicken Lickin’, Hangin’ OutSuperfunk, and Priced to Sell—as well as a  “Best Of” collection, on both CD and vinyl. They proved to be strong sellers.



.Funk IncFunk INC