Influential jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller dies at 57


Underrated yet influential jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller died in Allentown, Pa., on Wednesday after suffering a stroke. He was 57.

A member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 1980s as well as a sideman to Tony Williams, Wallace Roney, Kenny Garrett and many others, Miller was featured on more than 400 recordings that included many sessions for which he was the leader, including an lushly rendered run of live albums over the last 10 years.

Word of Miller’s condition reverberated throughout the online jazz community Friday after the pianist had a stroke. “Seeing Mulgrew Miller play solo in Greenwich Village in 1986 is what made me want to be a piano player professionally,” pianist Geoffrey Keezer wrote on Twitter, among many fans and musicians paying tribute to him.


PHOTOS: Concert photos by The Times

Miller’s death was confirmed Wednesday by the New York Times.

“I sincerely hope every self-respecting jazz musician takes this day to reflect on all the music Mulgrew left us. We loved you madly, ‘Grew,’” wrote bassist Christian McBride.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of opportunities to do just that. Here’s a clip of the pianist performing “Skylark” from his 2006 album “Live at the Kennedy Center, Vol. 1.”


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Twitter: @chrisbarton