ALLISON MILLER AT MERCYHURST
Thurs., April 28, 7:30 p.m. Walker Recital Hall
Tickets: Adults $15, Seniors & Military $12, Students & Youth $9.
Thursday evening, April 28th, Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture will conclude its 2015/16 season with a performance by Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom. Downbeat and JazzTimes magazine consistently rank Miller as a member of the upper echelon of jazz drummers, regardless of gender, and at this performance, regional jazz fans will hear why.
Experience: Marty Erlich, Ben Allison, Natalie Merchant...
Ms. Miller brings a wealth of diverse experience to the bandstand, having worked not only with noteworthy jazz musicians including Marty Ehrlich, Virginia Mayhew, Ingrid Jensen, Ben Allison and Kitty Margolis, she has also performed with pop/rock singers Natalie Merchant, Brandi Carlile and Ani DiFranco, and the Latin-based band Amazing Grace. “I feel like I’m in a really good place,” said Miller. “To be interested in many different types of music is a good thing and [it] can expand your sound across the board as you’re playing each different style.”
Boom Tic Boom.
Boom Tic Boom, Miller’s band, was named for the way her teacher, drummer Michael Carvin, described her approach to the drum kit. “He said it’s very apropos of my playing. The ‘boom’ is loud and the ‘tic’ is quiet, and it’s dynamic and melodic,” said Miller. Unsurprisingly, Miller’s choice of musicians, for this band, are also multidimensional. Pianist Myra Melford is creatively searching in her approach, accentuating the element of tension and relief in Miller’s compositions. Bassist Todd Sickafoose, whom Miller met in DiFranco’s band, also brings that cross-genre experience and serves as the stalwart anchor or the conversational foil, depending on the specific need of Miller’s imaginative compositions. Violinist Jenny Scheinman, a veteran of guitarist Bill Frisell’s diverse bands, rounds out the quartet with her jazz, Americana and chamber-music influences.
Focus on the melody.
Carrying on in the great tradition of “melodic” drummers such as Max Roach, Ed Blackwell and Jack DeJohnette, Miller focuses on the melody when playing, which comes in part from her practice sessions with a four octave marimba. Her compositional approach was influenced by Ehrlich and Roberta Piket, resulting in a style which expertly balances straight-ahead melodies and edgy improvisation, with her Boom Tic Boom cohorts bringing these compositions to life in an exhilarating fashion.
Fellow female jazz drummer Susie Ibarra once commented, “People talk about how art reflects life, but if jazz is art, how can it reflect life if there are only men playing it?” On Thursday, April 28th, Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom will bring some high art to MIAC’s Walker Recital Hall and it will definitely reflect life in its fullest.
Below, a further sample of Miller's work with pianist Myra Medford.
by Gary Finney
February 25, 2016