Now Playing (new & forthcoming CDs)

vintageradio3Snow flurries fight it out with waves of warm breeze. My in-box is brimming with new music. The latest:
Allison Miller and Boom Tic Boom Otis Was a Polar Bear (Royal Potato Family, April 8): Drummer and bandleader Allison Miller speaks her mind clearly and with no apologies. Such was the case in a Huffington Post essay a few years ago in which she wrote: “I am a woman. I am a dyke. I am a tomboy. I play jazz.” She’s just as confident and forthright behind her drum kit at the helm of her Boom Tic Boom ensemble, which boasts an impressive personnel of wide-ranging and distinguished players: Myra Melford (piano), Jenny Scheinman (violin), Kirk Knuffke (cornet), Ben Goldberg (clarinet), Todd Sickafoose (bass).
Miller began writing Otis Was a Polar Bear during the summer of 2014 while touring with singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant. The birth of Miller’s (and her partner, Rachel’s) first child Josie inspired the music on this latest CD. Miller began writing the music while on tour with singer Natalie Merchant and completed the project through a Chamber Music American grant. The 10 original compositions featured on Otis Was a Polar Bear chart an inspirited soundtrack to the beginnings of a new life chapter for Miller and her family.
We’ve reached a moment when it’s far from remarkable that a jazz band is led by a female drummer and is half-populated by stirring women instrumentalists (Melford should be on anyone’s list of essential pianist). When motherhood inspires good jazz. When drummers who compose stirring jazz, about far more than groove, abound. Miller’s Boom-Tic-Boom is proof of all that, and yet it sounds singular, smart, cool and with just the right amount of weirdness. Sort of like how you’d wish your child to turn out. Continue reading “Now Playing (new & forthcoming CDs)”