Redwood Jazz Alliance

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom
Sunday, April 10th, 8 p.m.| Kate Buchanan Room

"A drummer of fierce clarity and bold imagination."
—John Miller, The Guardian (London)

Allison Miller


The Making of Otis Was A Polar Bear
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"Otis Was a Polar Bear" (Royal Potato Family)
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We can’t think of anyone better than Allison Miller to close out our first decade.  To begin with, she has a thing for Humboldt County—and evidently we’ve got a thing for her, too: in the past five years, the versatile drummer has dropped in not just with her own band, but with Kitty Margolis, the Honey Ear Trio, Jessica Lurie, and the Tiptons.  

Miller grew up near Washington, D.C. and took up the drums at age 10. After college, she moved to New York City, where she established herself not only as an in-demand drummer, but as a composer, producer, and teacher.  A child of the 80s who came of age listening to jazz, funk, rock, and pop, Miller was deeply influenced by jazz drummer Ed Blackwell, but also by the beats of Go-Go (DC's unique brand of funk) and Prince drummer Sheila E.  

Twice recognized as a "rising star" in the DownBeat critics poll, Miller keeps time for the likes of Ani DiFranco, Natalie Merchant, and Brandi Carlile when she's not busy with her own groups.  In the jazz world, she has worked extensively with saxophonist Marty Ehrlich and organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith. These days she anchors bassist Ben Allison’s quartet, and just last month she spent a week in the drummer’s chair on Late Night with Seth Rogen

The last time MIller brought Boom Tic Boom to Arcata, it was a quartet. Now it’s added Ben Goldberg on clarinets and Kirk Knuffke on cornet. The expanded group has a new album, Otis Was A Polar Bear, which demonstrates that it’s not just the size of the band that’s grown; its sound has, too. Miller’s music has always grooved and challenged at the same time, but the new compositions are even more expansive and vivid, and the musicians have a deeper connection to the music and each other. (Like all the best ensembles, this is one whose members really listen to one another.) Virtuosos all, everyone in Boom Tic Boom could dazzle with their chops, but they choose to serve the music first. The Wall Street Journal’s Larry Blumenfeld calls the playing on Otis “singular, smart, cool and with just the right amount of weirdness.”

New member Ben Goldberg, yet another repeat visitor to these parts, has performed in past RJA seasons with Plays Monk, Go Home and Myra Melford’s Be Bread. Kirk Knuffke, meanwhile, is a thoughtful and surprising cornetist who’s recorded 15 albums as a leader or co-leader and appeared on more than 60 others as a sideman. The veteran Boom Tic Boomers are Humboldt County’s own world-class violinist, Jenny Scheinman, and pianist Myra Melford, another RJA favorite, who opened the current season with her band Snowy Egret. Filling in for regular bassist Todd Sickafoose on this tour is Israeli-born Haggai Cohen Milo, a rising star in New York who leads his own band and does everything from playing the music of John Zorn to composing ballet scores for Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and the Bayerische Staatsoper. 

Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website and at People's Records, Wildwood Music, Wildberries, and The Works.

A three-time Jazz Ambassador for the US Dept. of State, Allison Miller also conducts clinics and master classes throughout the world and is adjunct faculty at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and Jazz Camp West. She'll present an open public workshop on Monday, April 11th at 12:00 noon in Music A Room 131 on the HSU campus (across the walkway from the entrance to Fulkerson Recital Hall). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend, and admission is FREE.

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Additional support for this show comes from Holly Yashi, Libation Wine Store & Wine Bar, Marimba One, Renaissance Internet, Rose Court Cottage, and Tomo Japanese Restaurant.

HSU SealMonday's free public workshop is made possible through the generosity of HSU's College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Music.

If you or your business would like to consider sponsoring a Redwood Jazz Alliance event and/or advertising in our concert programs, please e-mail us or visit our Underwriting & Donations page.

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