The piano duo is one of the great pleasures in jazz, a format that allows colleagues to collaborate with 20 fingers flying. Keyboard savants Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller have enjoyed several prior encounters, inspiring each other’s dazzling improvisations. The Philadelphia-born Barron, 68, and Memphis-raised Miller, 56, share the same aesthetic outlook, putting a premium on elegance, beauty and crisp articulation, and each is a brilliant composer.
Barron, an NEA Jazz Master, has helped define and extend the jazz tradition since his work with Dizzy Gillespie in the early ‘60s catapulted him into the spotlight. A series of longrunning gigs with Freddie Hubbard, Yusef Lateef and Ron Carter kept him there. As a bandleader, Barron has recorded nearly 50 acclaimed albums.
Miller, meanwhile, honed his impeccable touch during extended alliances with Art Blakey and Betty Carter. Since then he’s carved out a career as a consummate accompanist with masters such as Joe Lovano, Ron Carter and Tony Williams, while also excelling as a leader on more than a dozen albums including Live at Yoshi’s, Volumes 1 & 2.