Electric bassist and founder/leader of Project Grand Slam
Robert Miller plays the electric bass and composes. Robert has two CDs as a leader to his credit: Child's Play, released in 1994 on Wildcat Records, and Prisoners of Love”, released in 1996 on 32 Records. He is also the founder/leader of Project Grand Slam, a contemporary jazz group which released its debut CD Play in 2008 and is currently working on its second release.
Robert has played with the likes of Anton Fig, Randy Brecker, Jaki Byard, Sonny Stitt, Al Foster, Tim Ries and Jon Lucien, and gained an impressive reputation from appearing at all the major jazz clubs in the New York City area, including the Blue Note, Metronome and Birdland, as well as the jazz festival circuit, including The Telluride Jazz Festival, The San Bernadino Jazz Festival and the South Street Seaport Festival with his band, The Robert Miller Group. The Robert Miller Group appeared on programs with such artists as Bruce Hornsby, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Kenny Barron, War and Regina Carter.
Robert is also known for being the co-founder of 32 Records and its sister label 32 Jazz, an innovative record label that released Jazz For A Rainy Afternoon and the other Jazz For... recordings, in addition to recordings by The Jazz Passengers (featuring Debbie Harry and Elvis Costello), Pat Martino, Houston Person, David Fathead Newman, Mose Allison, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Eddie Harris, Kronos Quartet and compilations such as Hit Jazz and Party Jazz. In 1999, 32 Jazz simultaneously held the number 1-5 spots on the Billboard Jazz chart with its Jazz For... series, a first time feat in the music industry.
In 2007 Robert formed Project Grand Slam, whose debut album Play (Cakewalk Records) featured a cover of The Captain of Her Heart with guest vocalist Judie Tzuke, plus 11 other original tunes. Captain peaked at #20 on the Contemporary Jazz Radio chart. The group and five of its tracks was featured in a 2008 episode of NBC's Lipstick Jungle starring Brooke Shields, Kim Raver and Lindsey Price.
Project Grand Slam is currently recording its next CD, which should be released in early 2012. Stay tuned...
My Jazz Story
Published on: 2017-10-10
I love jazz because the music is ever-changing. Great improvisational music is never played the same exact way twice. The framework may be the same, but the notes change with the interplay and mood of the musicians as well as the feedback and mood of the audience. Pop is the exact opposite – every song is played note-for-note. Boring!
I was first exposed to jazz when I was 20 years old. Before that I only played rock and roll. I took a music course that summer at a local NYC college, and as part of the course they set up each student with a private teacher. As luck would have it I was matched with Jimmy Garrison, John Coltrane’s bassist. Jimmy opened my eyes and ears to jazz. He taught me how to “walk” on the bass. He was an inspiration. When I decided to return to Boston in the fall he set me up with several musicians there, and my musical life took off from there.
I met Sonny Stitt, the great alto saxophonist, in the early 1970s at a famous club outside of Boston called Lennie’s On The Turnpike. He was the headliner that evening and my band – Sagov – was the opener and backing band for Sonny. What made the night especially memorable is that when Sonny took the stand he was stone cold drunk. I mean he could hardly stand. But when the spotlight shone on him somehow he played, and played masterfully. No one in the audience had a clue that he was drunk. It must have been muscle memory.
The best show I ever attended was about 5 years ago when I saw Chick Corea together with Gary Burton at Tanglewood in Massachusetts. I have long adored both musicians. In fact, Sagov opened for Gary Burton in Boston in 1973. And Chick has been one of my idols for many years including his Return To Forever days. Hearing these two masters play together was just awe inspiring.
The first jazz record I bought was Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. This album was the start of the fusion era in jazz, which I loved. The record was unlike anything that I had ever heard. It didn’t really consist of tunes. It was more like long tone poems, with an electric feel. Totally captivating.
My advice to new listeners is to keep an open mind. Jazz is an experimental form of music. So you must open your ears and accept the artistry.