Mulgrew Miller has hardly been lying low since 1995. He has played on dozens of albums and toured steadily to general acclaim, but this is his first CD as a leader in seven years. With it, he reestablishes himself-as if that was necessary-as one of a handful of major pianists in his age group (he was born in 1955). The title, The Sequel, refers to Wingspan, Miller’s superb 1987 quintet album originally on Landmark, now available on 32 Jazz. Vibraharpist Steve Nelson is the only returning member of the original group, however: Steve Wilson is the alto and soprano saxophonist, Richie Goods the bassist, Karriem Riggins the drummer. On four tracks, trumpeter Duane Eubanks makes the band a sextet. Miller’s dedication to the strength of simplicity transmits itself to the other members of Wingspan.
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