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mi3 : Free Advice

Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassist Nate McBride and drummer Curt Newton formed mi3 as the house band for a series called MIM-“Modern Improvised Music”-that McBride curated in Boston. The group’s first album, We Will Make a Home for You, largely recorded in the storage room above a dry cleaner that had been converted into an art gallery, was electrifying, with Karayorgis playing, out of necessity, the Fender Rhodes electric piano. For their second album, Karayorgis switches to his main instrument, the acoustic piano, but the results are no less electric.

Karayorgis has absorbed and internalized the likes of Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor, Matthew Shipp and probably plenty of other left-of-center pianists from across the generations. Bebop informs his style, but he trades in contrast and open space. Angular phrasings and sharp-edged chords define tunes like mi3’s rendition of Duke Ellington’s “The Mystery Song” and the Monk-inspired Karayorgis original “Fink Sink Tink,” and he gets a speedy workout on his “Case in Point,” both hands darting up and down the keys.

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