Fri, 30 April 2010
West Coast pianist Eric Muhler is one of those musicians who has been around seemingly forever, but never broken through to wide success. He began with a rock and blues background, before morphing into a top jazz keyboard player. The 1980’s saw Muhler performing as a member in two exceptional progressive jazz groups – the Mobius Band with guitarist Jim Slick, and Quiet Fire, with ex-Miles Davis guitarist Dave Creamer and saxophonist Larry Schneider. Muhler cites his time with Creamer as among his most broadening experiences, and there is little wonder why, since the guitarist has been called “absolutely the most fantastic guitar player alive in America…" by no less an authority than George Benson.
However, Muhler soon left the spotlight, marrying, earning a degree in English Literature, and then being a “house dad” for his daughters for a number of years. But he never stopped writing, or playing.
A new century has Muhler back on the scene, and a fine new CD, The Jury is Out. Podcast 181 features an interview I had with the pianist in late 2009, with songs from the many stages of his career, including:
Eric Muhler Quartet – “Punkly“ from The Jury is Out. His latest outing expands his core trio to a quartet with the addition of saxophonist Sheldon Brown,
Eric Muhler Quartet – “Sand Castles“ from The Jury is Out
Eric Muhler Trio – “Sand Castles” from Live at the Jazz School. This live recording shows the Muhler Trio - Muhler on Piano, Michael Wilcox on Bass, and Rob Gibson on Drums – able to use the trio format with great facility and verve. Muhler’s playing is reminiscent of McCoy Tyner as he steps out front and center.
Eric Muhler – “All of You” from Something New. He is equally adept at solo piano stylings, as here he turns in a contemplative and subtle start to a classic composition, and then takes off from there for a flight worthy of Keith Jarrett at his solo best.