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Live Reviews

Jazz In Marciac Festival: Day 3

By Published: August 6, 2005
Maybe I've just heard Miller's recent live albums too often, or I just prefer less dense work he's done in his early days, but too much of what I heard had a too-familiar feel. The you- play-a-phrase-and-I'll-repeat-it exchanges with saxophonist Keith Anderson "Moonlight Sonta" has turned into one of my least favorite forms of audience pandering. And there's no question Miller's a virtuoso at every slap bass technique known to man but - like the earlier show - seeing him prove it time and again didn't convey anything new.

In that vein, some of the best moments came when Miller broke the mold doing things like playing baritone clarinet on one ballad (my bad for not catching the name), where hearing the delicate beauty of his lines on a less familiar instrument conveyed a sense of intimacy that's easier to connect with than simply watching a pro do what he knows best.

But overall his band certainly gave the audience what they wanted and did so well. It's at those times I feel something akin to a milk bucket under a bull, not sure what I expect such groups to come in and do. So you won't hear me say either featured act was a surpar show - and hopefully that's not a cop-out - simply a day when the unexpected scored a victory over the familiar.

Coming on day four: A smorgasbord of styles including the Blind Boys Of Alabama.

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