The pianist and composer Steve Million has had a prolific year, as he also released Jazz Words alongside the vocalist Sarah Marie Young, and here with Steve Cardenas, John Sims and Ron Vincent at his side, Million regroups with some longtime friends for a batch of old and new tunes.
"Open The Book" starts the listen with Million's sophisticated and cozy piano being complemented by the light drumming and spirited guitar work, and this dynamic interaction continues to the upbeat and playful "Old Earl", where contagious melodies and warm energy make this track alone worth the price of admission.
At the halfway point, "Situation" has the keys dancing around the lively drumming and smooth guitar lines, while "My Explanation" brings rich and agile instrumentation that flows with much beauty. "Waltz For Mr Abercrombie", another excellent track, then offers fascinating chord progressions as all members turn in top notch performances, especially Cardenas on guitar.
Arriving near the end, "Azusa Dreams" indeed gets dreamy as Million's key acrobatics shine bright, and "Blue Lizard" exits the listen in 3/4 time with some bluesy ideas as the rhythm section of Vincent and Sims is nothing short of incredible.
Million actually played with Cardenas and Vincent in Kansas City in the '80s, performing as Four Friends, and all these years later they still retain a strong chemistry. Toss in Sims on bass, and it only solidifies What I Meant To Say as a must hear effort for those with a penchant for piano focused jazz.