Jim Miller is a world class drummer and a staple of the Philadelphia jazz scene. His many projects and collaborators are far too many to list, but rest assured his playing always resonates with a crowd. Jim Miller was a recipient of the ”Jazz Hero Award” from the Jazz Journalist’s Association in 2013.
A Brief History of Miller Time outlines Jim Miller’s career as a premiere jazz drummer. The nine-track compilation covers a twenty-four year span and includes performances with more than twenty musicians. Seven are previously unissued or this is their first availability on CD. Five are from the jazz repertoire and four are original compositions.
There is far too much elite talent on this album to list here. Tunes range from straight ahead jazz to fusion to more experimental varieties. Unusual instrumentation includes marimba and vibes. The playing, arrangements and compositions are world class.
* Jim Miller’s distinctive percussion
* an extraordinary collection of talent
* fresh interpretations of jazz standards and original tunes
* a tour of jazz styles over two decades
* interesting and unusual instrumentations
Miller covers a variety of styles as a percussionist. These range from the thunderous attack of “High Point” to the timbral diversity of “Lift Every Voice” and “Rhino.”
The late Jef Lee Johnson appears and solos on both guitar and bass, in “Oleo” and “Water Dreams,” respectively. His unique rock inspired approach and overdriven guitar lend a sound not typically heard in jazz.
“By Myself” is a straight ahead jazz tune buoyed by the energy and power of singer Evelyn Simms. Bob Cohen’s piano works also excels.
Monkadelphia’s “Boo Boo’s Birthday” features outstanding vibes solos from Tony Miceli and solid lines from bassist Micah Jones.
Denis DiBlasio’s “Rhino” contains superb solos and instrumentation. It is a minimalist composition marked by ostinatos and the timbral interest of the baritone sax and marimba. The variety of Miller’s percussion set further adds to the appeal of the tune.
Tracks: Oleo; High Point; Lift Every Voice; Boo Boo’s Birthday; Rhino; Below the Beltway; By Myself; Fair Tonight; Water Dreams.
Personnel: Jim Miller: drums; Jef Lee Johnson: guitar (1, 6) and bass (6, 9); Ron Kerber: soprano sax (1); Jim Ridl: piano (1, 5); Steve Varner: bass (1); Tyrone Brown: bass (2, 3); Denis DiBlasio: baritone sax (2, 5); Umar A. Raheem: soprano sax (2); Randy Sutin: marimba (2) and vibes (3); E.J. Yellen: tenor and soprano sax (2, 8, 9); Eddie Green: piano (3); Chris Farr: tenor sax (4); Micah Jones: bass (4); Tom Lawton: piano (4); Tony Miceli: vibes (4); Darryl Hall: bass (5); George Rabbai: trumpet (5); Dean Witten: marimba (5): Suzanne Cloud: vocal (6); Ben Schachter: bass (6); Evelyn Simms: vocal (7); Bob Cohen: piano (7); Kevin McConnell: bass (7); Mark Knox: keyboards (8, 9); Gerald Veasley: bass (8, 9)
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