Home » Jazz Musicians » Jim Miller

Jim Miller

I've been involved in the professional music business since 1970, but incredibly, still enjoy playing the drums anyway. I consider it very fortunate that my Indianapolis grade school had a full band program and indoor plumbing as well. At age 12 the "music nun" yanked me from piano lessons to play drums in the orchestra because no one else had exhibited any natural proclivity toward becoming the scapegoat in the school's traditional losses at district band contests. Falling in love with the drums immediately, I demonstrated my interest and gratitude by ripping off drumsticks from the school, using them at home to break the heads on a pair of Emenee bongos.

In order to protect the windowsills and tabletops, a drumset was soon provided and in no time, I was auditioning for my first band ("Do you know the beat to 'Wipe Out'?" "Yeah." "OK, you're in."). Starting with youth centers and community pools, moving up to after-game dances and drunken frat-house affairs, I paid my dues to reach the top in Naptown: VFW halls, Moose Lodges, mall openings, sets between films at drive-ins, and occasional Union jobs at the Women's Prison. I once found myself playing along with the jukebox at a country joint too cheap to hire a whole group; realizing something was missing, I decided to devote myself to bands inexplicably working on unique, original material no one wanted to hear.

By this point I was gaining notoriety as a drummer who would show up for the gig, but I needed more...so, after finally perceiving that further artistic growth could not occur in an area with such a dearth of seedy dives, I moved to Philadelphia.

Since relocating to the East Coast and slowly crystallizing the concepts for a book, I've greatly decreased my chances for fame and financial success by evolving into a Jazz Snob. In recent years my drums have taken me to many distant and foreign lands including Cancun (Mexico), Lisbon (Portugal), and Des Moines, Iowa. But seriously, I took snare drum lessons with Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra percussionist Jack Wagley, and studied informally at drum clinics with John Von Ohlen, J.C. Heard, Ed Shaughnessy, and Alan Dawson. I was leader/co-founder/chief mediator/drummer for the "electro-jazz" group REVERIE, which persevered in the face of adversity, apathy, and overwhelming indifference to release four collections of original material in the dozen or so years of its existence; as a sideman, I've backed Ira Sullivan / Johnny Coles / Larry Coryell / John Blake / Al Grey / Don Alias / Cecil Bridgewater / Steve Giordano / Victor Bailey / Anita O'Day / Frank Tiberi / Jef Lee Johnson / Steve Rudolph / Alex Foster / Bootsie Barnes / Sid Simmons / Onaje Alan Gumbs / "Doc" Gibbs / Reggie Workman / Uri Caine / Rebecca Parris / Mark Murphy / Ben Schachter / Tony Williams / Jeff Jarvis / Evelyn Simms / Eddie Green / Ron Thomas / Larry McKenna / Lynn Seaton / Bob Kindred / Gordon Brisker / Richie Cole / Charles Fambrough / Randy Brecker / Vanessa Rubin / Houston Person / Bob Mintzer / Buddy DeFranco / Clark Terry / James Moody / John Simon / Ted Rosenthal / Ray Mantilla / Joe Ford / Jean Carn / Dave Stryker / Dave Leonhardt / Eddie Gomez / Mark Kramer / Dave Liebman / Slide Hampton / Randy Johnston / Bobby Zankel / Michael Pedecin, Jr.

Read more

Tags

"...the element of surprise" in a set that is "musically inspiring, uncompromising, observant and technically impressive..." (jazzreview.com)
"With his characteristic flexibility, one that makes it sometime seem as if he's physically steering the band around the turns of whatever tune is rolling past" (-Cadence)
..."the orchestrational drummer of choice" (-Jazz Player magazine)
"...unbelievably difficult to listen to..." (-AllAbout Jazz.com)

Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

A Brief History of...

Dreambox Media
2008

buy

If It's Not One...

Dreambox Media
2004

buy

...It's Another...

Dreambox Media
0

buy

Green Zone Blues

From: ...It's Another Miller Time
By Jim Miller

Sonoluminescence

From: If It's Not One Thing...
By Jim Miller

Videos

Similar

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.