Boston–based Jane Miller, brand new to these ears, is a member of the faculty at the Berklee School of Music who plays a warm, vibrant guitar in the manner of a Jimmy Raney, Billy Bauer or Jim Hall (one of whose compositions, the digitally challenging “Waltz New,” is included on her second recording, Secret Pockets
). As (I’m ashamed to say) most mainstream guitarists sound pretty much the same to me, the choice of music is of great interest, and Miller’s choices are consistently rewarding. They encompass two of her own compositions, the insouciant “Amigo” and softly rockin’ “Secret Pockets,” Jazz originals by Vince Guaraldi (“Pebble Beach”), Wayne Shorter (“Footprints”), Herbie Hancock (“Dolphin Dance”) and Miles Davis/Bill Evans (“Blue in Green”) alongside the standards “Summertime” (whose natural warmth is enlivened by African rhythms), “Body and Soul,” “Stella by Starlight” and a delightful up-tempo reading of Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses.” To add color and variety, trombonist Jay Ashby joins the trio on “Amigo” and adds percussion on “Body and Soul,” while pianist Bill O’Connell sits in on “Amigo,” “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Secret Pockets.” The finale, “Blue in Green,” is a soft–flowing duo by Miller and bassist Simonelli (who is resolute throughout, as is drummer Kirby). This is an admirable trio date, and further convincing evidence that there’s a wealth of unrecognized talent abiding in almost every nook and cranny in this wonderful country we call home.
Track listing: Summertime; Pebble Beach; Amigo; Waltz New; Body and Soul; The Days of Wine and Roses; Footprints; Secret Pockets; Dolphin Dance; Stella by Starlight; Blue in Green (56:47).
Jane Miller, guitar; Bob Simonelli, bass; Don Kirby, drums; with Jay Ashby, trombone, percussion; Bill O