Harry Miller Music and Inner Ear Records

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Long Biography

ST. LOUIS - "Beginnings"

headshot of Harry Miller

photo by Tomaz Tomanek

Jazz pianist and composer Harry Miller was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and the midwestern city was where he spent his formative years. Early on Harry chose to play sports over taking piano lessons. Eventually, however, he was drawn to the sound of the keyboard, after brief experimentations with the snare drum, trombone, and cello in school bands.

Beginning his piano studies at age 15 with the highly respected St. Louis pianist Ken Palmer, Harry started composing works at the age of 16, having his music performed by small groups, big bands, and an orchestra. He graduated University City High School in 1980, and was voted "Most Musical" in his class. Harry played in the St. Louis area during this time with the bands Chocolate City Express, Horizon, Mirage, the Washington University Jazz Big Band, Quintessence, Melvin Turnage, and the St Louis All-Metro Jazz Band and Orchestra.

BOSTON - "Learning Expansions"

Miller moved to Boston in 1980 to attend Berklee College of Music, where he studied theory with Mike Metheny, piano with Michael Marra and Dick Odgren, 20th century music with Stephanie Plzek, and arranging for large ensemble with Mike Gibbs, who was a strong influence on Miller's composing style.

He also studied at the Creative Music Studio near Woodstock, NY in 82/83 with Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Steve Gorn, Karl Berger, Paulo Moura, Olatunji, and Nana Vasconcelos. In addition, he studied privately with pianist/composer Lyle Mays, who is a major musical inspiration.

During the early 80's, Miller began performing original music with his band at Boston area venues including Ryle's, 1369, The Willow, Jack's, Berklee Performance Center, Pooh's Pub, The Western Front, as well as live performance broadcasts and interviews on local Boston radio stations. The band varied in size from four to eight musicians, and they made several studio recordings during this time.

NEW YORK CITY - "The Big Apple and Beyond"

Gigs:

Since his arrival in New York City, Harry has played in a wide variety of settings including jazz, rock, funk, reggae, African, wedding bands, churches, cruise ships, piano bars, modern dance accompaniment, experimental, musical theatre, and devotional chanting music of India.

In addition to having worked as a sideperson in a large number of musical groups, Harry has continued to lead his own band with regular appearances. The group has performed at NYC area venues such as Kavehaz, The Underground Lounge, Clifton Arts Center, St. Paul's Church, 55 Bar, Trumpets, Beantowne Coffeehouse, Arabica Coffeehouse, Visiones, Mikells, 7th Avenue South, Secret Road Inn, and "Five & Ten No Exaggeration".

Some of the musicians Miller has performed or recorded or "sat-in" with, or who have performed or recorded or "sat-in" as guests of his group, include: Greg Osby, Ralph Moore, Jean Toussaint, Mike Stern, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Jerome Harris, Arto Tuncboyacian, Slide Hampton, Ted Curson, Paul Motian, Phoebe Snow, Michael Urbaniak, Jeff Andrews, Cindy Blackman, DK Dyson, Allan Zavod, Jody Espina, Avi Bortnick, Terri Lyne Carrington, and others.

In 1996 and 97, Harry lived in a meditation ashram and assisted in musically supporting a meditation tour with a highly regarded Guru from India, both on retreat in South Fallsburg, NY, and on tour in Spain, Poland, England, Australia, and New Zealand.

In 1998, Miller was the house bandleader on Oprah Winfrey's "Tribute to Maya Angelou" cruise, where he performed with Ashford & Simpson, BB Winans, Jolie and Quincy Jones, and Odetta.

Harry has traveled extensively on his musical journeys, having visited over 70 nations.

Recordings:

headshot of Harry Miller

photo by Tomaz Tomanek

Harry's 1989 debut recording release as a leader was on the Optimism label based in California, and was titled "Open House". This CD featured some incredible musicians playing Miller's original compositions, including Greg Osby, Ralph Moore, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Peter Parcek, Konrad Adderley, Jody Espina, Koji Ohneda, John Loehrke, and others.

Harry's second CD, "Paradox Fossils", is a solo piano recording comprised of introspective and reflective improvisations, along with three jazz standards, and was released on the Inner Ear label in 1993.

Harry's third CD as a group leader is called "Harry Miller Trio - Live at the Museum" on Inner Ear Records. Featuring seven original compositions and an arrangement of the Miles Davis standard "Solar", Live at the Museum was recorded live in concert in 1998 with the stellar musicians David Edwards (bass) and Vince Ector (drums). The recording features a spirited performance by the trio, brilliantly captured on digital audio.

The latest CD features the contemporary jazz sounds of Harry Miller and the Satisfied Souls. Titled "Jazz Beauty Supply", the recording has 8 new original compositions featuring the spirited musicianship of Steve Slagle (saxophones), David Edwards (bass), Joe Foster (drums), Avi Bortnick (guitar), Kate McGarry (voice), Bobby Reveron (percussion), as well as Harry on piano and synths.

Harry Miller's recordings have been praised by music publications such as Downbeat, JazzTimes, CD Review, and Cadence. Some of his tunes have received widespread national radio and TV airplay, including NPR's Morning Edition, and CBS Sports TV.

SIDE PROJECTS: In the early 90's, Harry produced recordings by Native American Indian musicians Louis Greenrainbow Mofsie, and the Silvercloud Singers. He recorded with folk singer/songwriter Enid Ames on her 1998 CD release "Got to Dive In", and he has also contributed music to several Siddha Yoga meditation audio and video recordings.