These duo recordings are available here for the first time, featuring two musicians who were taken from us at far to an early juncture in their lives. What makes it a double pleasure is the form both musicians were in on both of the live dates in question – it’s obvious each man relished the company of the other.
The sprightly What Is Thing Called Love? is a fine gateway for what is to come, the pair enjoying the individual limelight and sparring confidently as exchanges take place – a veritable warming to the task, carried over into the balladry of This Is Always, a relatively neglected Harry Warren opus with Hargrove turning to the flugelhorn.
Any performance of I Remember Clifford commands immediate attention and the pairing do this often-aired piece justice as the trumpeter shows excellent control in both upper and lower registers. Miller’s contribution is of a rhapsodic nature and highly effective to boot. By contrast the Jobim tune Triste is a chance for the duo to wallow in a totally different rhythmic milieu. The familiar material continues to flow but there are no throwaways, even if Hargrove seems slightly hampered by Dizzy’s ghost on Con Alma.
The beautiful handling of Never Let Me Go and Just In Time are balanced out by Blue Mitchell’s funky Fungii Mama where there are a number of high ones confidently thrown out by Hargrove and dazzling boppish lines from Miller. This is a delightful presentation heralding a couple of Monk compositions handled in a thankfully individual manner by the duo.
We go down-home on Hargrove’s own Blues For Mr Hill, commencing with Miller sounding convincingly old school as the horn rides high over the top in semi-preaching mode. Fittingly, from the trumpeter’s point of view, we are taken out by Ow, yet another famous Gillespie tune.
CD1: What Is This Thing Called Love?; This Is Always: I Remember Clifford: Triste; Invitation; Con Alma (52.27)
CD2: Never Let Me Go; Just In Time; Fungii Mama; Monk’s Dream; Ruby My Dear; Blues For Mr. Hill; Ow! (50.39)
Hargrove (t, flh); Mulgrew Miller (p). New York, 15 January 2006 & Easton, PA, 9 November 2007.