While still a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1983-86), pianist
Mulgrew Miller refined a modal style of playing that evoked McCoy Tyner's more mainstream work. It took a while for Miller to also emerge as a composer and an arranger. Wingspan (may 1987) featured him in a small-ensemble context (a quintet), playing relatively harmless originals. The idea was applied to Countdown (august 1988), in a quartet with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, and especially to the septet of Hand In Hand (december 1992), that contained his most sophisticated art yet.
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