Home » Jazz Articles » Roberto Miranda's Home Music Ensemble: Live at the Bing Theater; L...


Album Review

Roberto Miranda's Home Music Ensemble: Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985


Sign in to view read count
Roberto Miranda's Home Music Ensemble: Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985
Roberto Miranda has appeared on almost one-hundred albums but has been lightly recorded as a leader, and inexplicably struggled to generate interest among labels. Dark Tree Records has released some great Horace Tapscott performances from the '70s and '80s. The label resurrected a Miranda-led session on Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985. Recorded at the USC campus auditorium, the sound is pristine, and the ambiance, eclectic and dynamic.

Miranda studied bass with Ray Brown and Red Mitchell, and classical music with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Early in his career, he had the unexpected opportunity to play with Cecil Taylor—a mind-opening experience for the young bassist. He has recorded with Kenny Burrell, Bobby Bradford, and John Carter. Miranda has had a memorable impact with his contributions to the music of Bobby Hutcherson, David Murray, Arthur Blythe and others. Most notably, the bassist had been a member of Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. Miranda shared more than music with Tapscott; both were exceedingly faithful to the South-Central Los Angeles arts scene, and that commitment narrowed Miranda's visibility outside the community.

Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985 consists of seven Miranda originals. The complex pieces are often driven by Tapscott or flautist James Newton, but saxophonist Thom David Mason and trumpeter Bradford regularly take center stage. "Platform for Freedom" begins the performance and is true to its name. Tapscott lets loose with a torrential improvisation with Miranda's breakneck accompaniment. The sprawling, sixteen-minute "Prayer #1" veers from idyllic calm to unrestrained free playing and back again. Opening and closing with Bradford's elegiac trumpet solo, it is the essence of the South-Central creative mindset. The noirish opening to "Deborah Tasmin" features Mason's tenor saxophone and Tapscott. Newton lightens the piece, but the flute quickly gives way to the growling sax and a redirection. Miranda contributes a solo number with "Improvised Bass Solo 5/25/85."

Miranda has toured Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.A. and has been teaching at USC's Department of Jazz Studies for more than two decades. Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985 demonstrates his skills as a composer and player in some challenging settings. His music is worth seeking out, and fans of Tapscott's Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra will find this release very satisfying.

Track Listing

Platform for Freedom; Faith; Agony in the Garden; Prayer #1; Deborah Tasmin; Improvised Bass Solo 5/25/85; Dance of Blessing, Happiness & Peace.


Album information

Title: Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985 | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Dark Tree Records

Post a comment

Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.



Here Now
Søren Bebe Trio
Affinity Trio


On the record

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.