|Jim Miller - A Brief History of Jim Miller Time|
|Written by Skip Spratt|
Recently at the Rowan University Jazz Festival I was greeted by drummer and faculty member Jim Miller. He handed me his newest CD entitled A Brief History of Jim Miller Time and said, “A little music for you.” Well, it’s A LOT of music – encompassing the last quarter century of Miller’s illustrious career as musician and drummer. (yes, drummers are musicians too!)
While listening to the CD a couple times I kept reading and referring to the liner notes penned by Dr. Robert Rawlins also of Rowan University. Rawlin’s fluent wordsmithmanship (is that a word?) has been featured in Saxophone Journal, Woodwind Player and Downbeat magazines as well as other educational journals. Dr. Rawlin’s (Dr. Bob to those who know him from A.C.) liner notes are written so well that I chose to include his words here. Thanks for the permission Dr. Bob!
“Jazz cannot escape its past, and “time travel” is, in a sense, de rigueur for jazz musicians. The time travel provided by this CD only spans 24 years, but that’s enough to listen back through the creations of excellent musicians operating at the cutting edge of the historical progression of jazz. Through this journey one can hear the risk-taking statements of the current day alongside traditional elements that point toward a remote past beyond the current field of vision. It is possible not only to hear “where it came from,” but also what must have come before, as well as what has been absorbed as a permanent part of the tradition.”
“Sonny Rollins’ “Oleo,” the opening track, dates from a 2005 live recording at Rowan University. The tune receives fresh and imaginative treatment here, beginning with a full unaccompanied chorus by Jim Ridl, followed by and eerie ensemble version of the melody. Fine solos follow by all…(Ron) Kerber’s lyrical soprano…and an emotionally charged statement by Ridl.”
“Miller’s own “High Point” features solos…Raheem on soprano, DiBlasio on baritone, and Yellen on tenor. Miller’s drumming is particularly inspired throughout…”
“DiBlasio’s “Rhino” is almost minimalistic in its use of repetitions and the prominence of the marimba throughout. (by Dean Witten, Director of Percussion Studies at Rowan University.)”
“Below The Beltway,”…features Ben Schacter on soprano sax. A satirical commentary, the song contains rhythmic snippet of quotes from politicians and media pundits.”
“Fair Tonight” and “Water Dreams” reach back to the early ‘80s, when electronics and synthesizers dominated jazz…”
“The track on the is CD cover a broad range of jazz styles involving many musicians over a span of nearly 25 years…It is my sincere hope that many will listen to this CD and ask the question, “What is this joyous music about?” It’s about time!” – Dr. Robert Rawlins
Find out more about Jim Miller Time here .
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