There is a distinguished lineage of post-bop pianists who collaborated with the legendary Miles Davis: Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul. Add to that list of superb artists Robert Irving III, who served as Miles’ last pianist/keyboardist and who proved to be his longest collaborator and musical director. After nearly twenty years since his last outing as a leader, Irving returns with his remarkable new recording, New Momentum, a largely acoustic piano trio CD that is the premiere album for the new label Sonic Portraits.
Irving’s career as a musician began as a brass player at the age of 10. His first instrument was the bugle, followed by a range of brass instruments including coronet, French horn and valve and slide trombone. While he was a brass player, Irving also studied piano to further his knowledge of musical theory, mentored by his high school jazz band teacher.
He came to the Miles Davis collaboration as a musical storyteller. Through Miles’ mentoring�beginning in 1979 and lasting until his death in 1991�Irving became an accomplished acoustic jazz pianist through the application and interpretation of conceptual lessons he learned from the iconic jazz great. Eventually, Irving incorporated it all into an evolved acoustic piano technique that is on display on New Momentum, which features drummer Yussef Ernie Adams and bassists Buster Williams (on five of the eight tracks) and Marlene Rosenberg (on the three other cuts).