What kind of person was Mulgrew Miller, Richie?
Mulgrew was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. He was one of the most respected jazz musicians on the scene, and such a kind, friendly, fun-loving person. He didn’t drink, he didn’t do drugs, he didn’t smoke, but he didn’t look down upon people that did these things. People have to live their lives the way they live their lives, and he lived his the way he lived his. He would introduce me as his left-hand man because that’s the bass side of the piano.
How do you go about translating a personality like that into your record?
A part of me was like, ‘I just want to do his music justice’, and I was a tiny bit concerned what people would say, because I took some of Mulgrew’s great jazz compositions and made them into R&B songs. But the thing is, Mulgrew played in my first band in New York. I had a fusion band. Mulgrew played my very first gig. It was Mulgrew, Cindy Blackman, and Jeffrey Lockhart. Mulgrew played Fender Rhodes and synthesizers in a tiny little club with me, so his mind was open, and so I know he would appreciate it
The bass is full and front and center on the album.
Thank you. I use a Fodera Emperor Standard. It’s a five-string, and I endorse D’Addario. I love their really bright strings, the Pro Steel 45 to 130 gauge. On the acoustic bass, I use D’Addario Pizzicato. I love those. They’re kind of difficult to bow when I need to bow, but for pizzicato, man, they sound beautiful. All the bass tracks were recorded live. That’s how I knew I got the right musicians, because I felt so relaxed in the studio that every song was either one or two takes. I feel like when you start to get into too many takes, the music starts to lose its magic and then I start losing perception.
How did you first get into bass?
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