Previously only released as a promo for Hifi brand B&O, these recordings are now finally available to everybody.
In 1999, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Mulgrew Miller came together in a unique and unlikely pairing to pay tribute to Duke Ellington on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The result was a passionate and long-lived musical partnership between two masters of their respective instruments, but the original recordings were never released. For the first time ever, more than 20 years after its recording, this lost treasure is finally made available to the public.
The duo was initially brought together by Bang & Olufsen and set out to celebrate Ellington and his partnership with bassist Jimmy Blanton. With the help of Per Arnoldi, who is also credited with the album’s artwork, NHØP was approached to take part and tapped Mulgrew Miller to tackle a series of Ellington’s classic themes and a couple of their own. He saw the opportunity to work with Mulgrew Miller, a pianist whom he admired and had not yet had the opportunity to work with, and this decision paid off greatly for both of them. A great musical and personal partnership was born, and the duo’s captivating chemistry is obvious from the first notes.
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen is widely celebrated as one of the greatest to ever grace the upright bass and had a long and fruitful career among the greats of jazz. He is arguably jazz’s most virtuosic bassist, and his long career saw collaborations with legends like Oscar Peterson, Kenny Drew, Michel Petrucciani, Tania Maria, Philippe Catherine and Joe Pass. In the duo with Miller in particular, Niels-Henning’s unique sense of harmony and his impeccable timing stand out. Meanwhile, Mulgrew Miller, one of the most accomplished jazz pianists of the 80s and 90s delivers Ellington’s themes with grace and admiration. His playing is marked by versatility, skillful soloing and tasteful restraint. With NHØP on bass and MIller on piano, the talents of both are given plenty of space to explore Ellington’s themes and to form a musical dynamic that rivals that of Ellington and Blanton.
The entire Duo-album will hit streaming services on june 12th. The first single C Jam Blues can be found here.