Rising jazz pianist Miro Sprague returns to Western Mass.

Miro Sprague

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PITTSFIELD — Miro Sprague's introduction to jazz came at 13, thanks to his father and a famous trumpeter.

"My dad gave me the Miles Davis album, 'Kind of Blue.' It seemed almost magical to me," he said. "Within two years, I got a feeling jazz was for me."

On Saturday night, the rising jazz pianist and his foursome looks to give a feel-good concert to an intimate gathering at Berkshire Music School on Wendell Avenue. The Miro Sprague Quartet led by the Amherst-raised Sprague, consists of his closest musical partners: saxophonist Michael Zsoldos, trombone player Eric Miller and bassist Marty Jaffe.

Following the Pittsfield gig, Sprague himself will crisscross the country until early May, sitting in with various groups, primarily ones led by Grammy-nominated Karrin Allyson. The jazz pianist/vocalist headlined the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in 2016.

Sprague has performed overseas as well, but coming home to Western Massachusetts puts the 32-year-old globe-trotter most at ease on stage.

"There is a relaxed feeling playing before family and friends," he told The Eagle during a phone interview from New York City, his professional home base.

Sprague, of the North Adams' Spragues, is a Manhattan School of Music alum and graduate from the hard-to-get-into Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA. Considered the world's most prestigious jazz master's program, only 6-8 musicians are accepted every two years, according to Sprague.

The most grueling part of the post-graduate work was a nerve-racking appearance before a group of jazz icons.

"We were performing in front a panelist of well know jazz greats: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Burrell to name a few," Sprague said. "I had a strong indication this [experience] would be a big boost to my career."

Sprague's concert and recording career began in the early 2000s, and for about 15 years he's toured with current jazz stalwarts Matt Wilson (drummer), Greg Osby (saxophone), Samirah Evans and Karrin Allyson (vocalist). Sprague has been Allyson's primary pianist the past two years, according to his website biography. He played for Evans in a headline show during last year's Pittsfield CityJazz Festival.

Sprague has four albums to his credit; the fourth, "Blue Dreaming," recorded with his quartet.

Saturday's concert will feature Sprague and band member compositions, along with jazz classics. Missing will be a drummer, as Sprague's favorite percussionist was unavailable to enhance the upbeat tunes.

Not a problem for the quartet.

"Being in a more intimate, quieter venue, not having drums in a small setting will work," Sprague said.

Reach Dick Lindsay at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com and 413-496-62334


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