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Distinguished gentlemen

 


"Mike Sokolowski is a genius. I found myself at his bi-monthly Miller's gig staring at the floor, totally tranced out to his ethereal classical/jazz piano improvisations. It's heady stuff -- deep wafting clouds of musical poetry floating from room to room of some ancient secret mansion. His band with Houston Ross and Johnny Gilmore (now TR3's rhythm section), Soko, is all but disbanded, but the spirit of his piano work is every bit as powerful unaccompanied on Miller's slightly out-of-tune upright. He's an accomplished dude. Soko's first CD, In November Sunlight, was a powerful foray into funk-jazz fusion (and featured our liege, Dave Matthews on a tune) and he's just overseen the re-release of his improvisational duet with Tim Reynolds, Common Margins, an ambient classic that would make Brian Eno proud. "Ambient" is a good word for a Miller's Monday, with Mike alternating weeks with another ambient guru, Greg Howard. Both these guys perform advanced musical meditations in a decidedly environmental way, conjuring deep moods and strange emotions, and they both like the Beatles."

— Cripsy Duck, Cripsy's Crawl, C-VILLE-Weekly, November, 1999

 

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Survival of the flittest

 


"July 31-- It was a mellow Monday night and I needed to write, but my brain was resisting all efforts to subvert its attention, so I biked down to the mall for a beer that never materialized. I don't know what happened-- I just... lost the urge. At Miller's, Michael Sokolowski had pushed the house spinet out into the room for two sets of his deep ambient classical piano jazz meditations-- honestly, some of the more thoughtful music being generated around here. When Mike plays, I enjoy sitting silently, staring at the floor and spacing out with him. He goes for these lush, intelligent, moody landscapes, and if you listen closely without distraction, it can be quite touching. Too touching for most people, I'd imagine-- things occasionally get so beautiful as to provoke teary-eye moments, and frankly, who wants to get all choked up in a smokey bar? Besides me? He spends most of his time in drawn-out improvisations, but he also has an interesting affection for unusual tunage, like his instrumental exploration of Sting's "Fields of Gold" or the late set rendition of "Favorite Things" that morphed into a tender Grateful Dead "Stella Blue." (As it turns out, this was his first live stab at a Dead tune and it just happened to be the anniversary of Jerry Garcia's birthday.-- Too cool.) Sokolowski's record label, Breezeway Records, has just released Offering, a collaboration with Tim Reynolds and Worth Profitt taken from a live performance experiment in '91 with one new bonus studio track tacked on the end. I urge you to go pick up a copy. It's deep. Very deep. And you deserve the very best."

— Cripsy Duck, Cripsy's Crawl, C-VILLE-Weekly, August, 2000

 

 


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