CLIFTON ARTS CENTER
Clifton, New Jersey - March 2002
(to see photos from this concert click Clifton concert photos)
'Beautiful jazz' mellows mood of Clifton crowd
Paterson musician gives audience taste of album
Harry Miller, a Paterson resident who composes, produces and performs jazz, recently noticed a sign for beauty supplies in dowtown Paterson. The sign struck a chord in his head, as many other objects and ideas have before.
"That's what I want to give to people, beautiful jazz," Miller said.
On Saturday, Miller and two fellow musicians, members of Harry Miller and the Satisfied Souls, provided the city with a taste of their upcoming CD, tentatively titled "Jazz Beauty Supply".
With the sun setting outside, Miller (on keyboards), Fima Ephron (on bass) and Joe Foster (on drums) performed soft, meandering tunes and buoyant pieces inside the Clifton Arts Center, a cultural center on the grounds of the city's municipal complex.
The group played for an hour as audience members nodded their heads and tapped their feet.
A song called "One Last Call" lent a melancholic feel to the room. The quiet, slow piece was composed in the wake of Sept. 11, Miller said.
"When I wrote it I was thinking about the people in the World Trade Center and on those planes making calls on their cell phones to their loved ones, knowing their demise was near", he said. "I wanted to somehow get across in musical terms that feeling of love contained in those last calls".
The trio - missing saxophonist Steve Slagle who was out sick - also performed upbeat compositions, including one that spotlighted Foster's drumwork. Audience members burst into applause as Foster culminated an energetic solo performance.
All three musicians have performed in the area before, and also with well-known musicians.
Ephron has played with artists the likes of Natalie Merchant, Lost Tribe, and John Zorn, and he recently recorded an album, "Soul Machine". Miller has recorded three albums, one from a live performance at the Paterson Museum.
With Slagle, they plan to record "Jazz Beauty Supply" this Friday.
Their performance on Saturday was the first time they had played all of the album's songs together as a group, Miller said. They finished the lineup with a song entitled "Miller's DeLight", ending with Miller saying a simple "yeah"!
Barbara Flexner, director of the Clifton Arts Center, said musicians such as Miller and his group lend a unique perspective to the center.
"It works two ways," Flexner said. "We want to attract a diverse audience while also supporting musicians from the area."
Clifton resident Elaine Hayes said she has not traditionally been a fan of jazz music, choosing instead to listen to classical tunes. Yet she was fond of Saturday's performance.
"I love classical music but I really enjoyed this," she said. "It's a shame in a city this big that more people don't come out for these things. It's wonderful."
The Clifton Arts Center offers a concert series throughout the year. For more information call (973)-472-5499.