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An excellent pianist who plays in a style influenced by McCoy Tyner, Mulgrew Miller has been quite consistent throughout his career. He was with Mercer Ellington's big band in the late '70s and had important stints with Betty Carter (1980), Woody Shaw (1981-1983), and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1983-1986). For a long period, he was a member of the Tony Williams Quintet (1986-1994). In addition, Mulgrew Miller has led his own sessions for Landmark (starting in 1985) and Novus.
Mulgrew Miller (born August 13, 1955 in Greenwood, Mississippi) is an American jazz pianist who performs in a number of jazz idioms. He began his career as member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Miller had a childhood filled with early musical experiences, mostly playing gospel music in his church and R&B and blues at dances. Miller was interested in jazz piano, and established a trio in high school that would play at cocktail parties. Miller admits that they did not really know what they were doing and were merely "approaching jazz". Miller is said to have set his mind definitely to becoming a jazz pianist after seeing Oscar Peterson on television. Much of Miller's playing has the same technical prowess so often connected with Peterson. Currently, he maintains a working trio with Ivan Taylor on bass, and Rodney Green on drums. He has released four albums to date with Derrick Hodge (bass) and Karriem Riggins (drums) (both on the label MAXJAZZ): Live At Yoshi's Vol. 1 (2004), Live At Yoshi's Vol. 2 (2005), Live At The Kennedy Center Vol. 1 (2006), and Live At The Kennedy Center Vol. 2 (2007).
On May 20, 2006, Miller was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Performing Arts at Lafayette College's 171st Commencement Exercises.
Miller currently resides in Easton, Pennsylvania. As of 2006 he is the Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University. He was the Artist in Residence at Lafayette College for 2008-2009.