It’s "Hot" and vivacious, this journey Allison Miller takes us on, as she introduces her debut recording, released by Foxhaven Records named "5 am stroll". The label this project adorns has no rhyme or reason known by this scribe but the feel and vibrations exploding off this disk are very clear, it grooves with intensity.
Ms. Miller throughout this venture allows not only her talent to surface but displays a keen sense of musical vision. Very unusual for a young percussionist out of the gate as a leader for the first time, however her resume displays much respect as she has traveled long and hard, through the roads of jazz.
Not sympathetic to percussion focused projects, Ms. Miller opened this stubborn mans eyes with the uncanny talent of using creativity to enhance her composition and delivery of melodic significance. After you push play, scents of hip-hop, modern jazz, and shuffle fill the room, making the listener tunefully attentive to her style and flair.
Joining Ms. Miller on this debut event is bassist, Ray Drummond, alto sax and flutist, Steve Wilson, tenor sax, Virginia Mayhew, and pianist, Bruce Barth, all complementing each other throughout the cuts showcased.
Title cut "5 am stroll" shoots out of the gate with a union between piano and skins, igniting the fashion for the rest of the project. Soon the sax takes over and various sounds bond to hit a fine groove that keeps the pace for the entire cut, nice choice to familiarize Ms. Miller and band to the listening public.
"Catnip" does what catnip does, captivates the listener from first drum roll to sax jump, a hot number which lets all facets of the band take their bow, cool jam! I enjoyed this piece for it displayed a hot pianist fighting for respect amongst the other voices in the band. The strength of Ms. Miller comes out as she displays her percussion endowment in many of the cuts segments.
In " Shadow’s Reflection" it captured the tranquil side of Ms. Millers performance with a gentle yet adoring introduction as the sax and cymbals waltz you into this cut. In the background the pianist blankets a cover of musical emotion over it, as the bass adds that melodic touch. A really exceptional piece for a romantic afternoon on the Gulf Shores or by a New England fire, as this cut enhances all emotions while getting pleasure from it’s feel.
As a debut album, it strikes a nerve. It’s bubbling signature with a vast array of mixes and sounds, one thinks Ms. Miller has been around for ages. As a educator, she instills her philosophies in others as she practices them herself, allowing hope to blossom for generations of drummers to come. Ms. Miller will soon be, if not already, one of jazz’s brilliant innovators on the stage today!Karl Stober is an international freelance columnist and broadcaster who can be reached at
. Karl can also be reached at 1-802-380-6065.