Rocker and guitarist Steve Miller continues his blues challenge with Jazz at Lincoln Middle on December 13–14 in Rose Theater, as he explores the legacy of Cannonball Adderley. Joined by the highly effective Patrick Bartley Sextet and gorgeous vocalist Brianna Thomas, this efficiency will fill your soul with rhythm and blues.
Miller is curating a blues pedagogy by way of annual performances with Jazz at Lincoln Middle, this time concentrating on Cannonball Adderley and the blues. “That is loopy—in 1970 or ’71, Cannonball toured with me!” exclaims Miller. “Again within the day when the Fillmore Auditorium was getting began within the late ‘60s, you’d see exhibits like Cannonball, Charles Lloyd, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and all several types of jazz teams would are available in. The primary time, Cannonball known as me to come back and play with him. He invited me to come back and jam. I used to be actually younger and brash and didn’t actually know the best way to play jazz. I’m not that type of musician. However I acquired up there, and he put me within the band, and we simply acquired proper to work! It was that simple.
“I at all times cherished Cannonball. He was such a fantastic man! He was an amazingly beneficiant and chic and eloquent musician. We toured collectively and recorded a bunch of stuff we by no means launched. He is an ideal instance of blues and jazz. When you hearken to all of Cannonball’s recordings, it’s gorgeous how broad his attain is. He at all times appears to come back again to blues. So this present will probably be a presentation of that, when nice jazz gamers are nice blues gamers.
“Cannonball’s hits like ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ made it very simple for the world of listeners to fall into jazz. It was very easy to hearken to. After all, he finally ends up enjoying with Miles and Coltrane on the best jazz file of all time [Kind of Blue], which is a blues file.”
Steve Miller was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1943 and realized his first guitar chords from his father’s good friend, the good Les Paul. Miller got here from a household of musicians and moved to Texas in 1950, the place he met T-Bone Walker at age 9. He was influenced by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Man, and Paul Butterfield. Miller went on to cognify the electrical blues and attain a rock following that continues to today. He excursions always and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 2016, however his love for the blues is deep in his soul.
Miller presents the quick model of the blues path. “With the slave commerce, Africans have been delivered to the Delta, and they’d convey the banjo and the griot traditions of the call-and-answer types of African music. Finally, the slaves are emancipated, after which you could have all these indentured folks from the British Isles who have been shipped to Pennsylvania. After they labored off their money owed, all of them began migrating South, and lots of of them settled across the Cumberland Hole. What occurs is the black tradition and the British Isle tradition meet up when they’re constructing the railroad tracks and the mines and chopping down the timber, working collectively. That’s actually the start of the black tradition and the white tradition mixing in America. All of it occurred first with music and musicians.
“Now you bought the African banjo and the European violin and the guitars, these folks working collectively after work and enjoying music collectively. So that is nation music, and it begins shifting down the Mississippi and leads to New Orleans the place there are an entire bunch of French folks enjoying classical music with horns. All of it mixes collectively, jazz and blues. The Delta folks find yourself in Texas, and T-Bone Walker begins enjoying the electrical guitar, as does Charlie Christian. Finally the music makes its manner as much as Chicago, so now you’ve acquired Muddy Waters enjoying Robert Johnson tunes. Junior Wells and Buddy Man are enjoying electrical devices, and whereas that’s occurring rock and roll begins to take kind with rockabilly. Elvis Presley was completely affect by rockabilly and gospel. Everyone influenced one another a lot.”
Music is the common language. “You possibly can go to China and any person performs some Freddy King licks and everyone goes, ‘Yeah!’ The musicians who can improvise are the interpreters and the ambassadors. I can go anyplace on the earth and discover people who like blues and play blues! That’s been my expertise my complete life.”
Finishing the Rose Theater efficiency on December 13–14 is the addition of a fantastic band within the Patrick Bartley Quintet. “Patrick has been on all of our Jazz at Lincoln Middle exhibits the place we had horn sections,” Miller says. “I’ve gotten to know him very well, and he’s a tremendous musician. Patrick grew up in the identical city that Cannonball did in Florida [Cannonball was born in Tampa and eventually moved to Ft. Lauderdale] and went to the identical highschool that Cannonball went to, the place Cannonball began a jazz program. So Patrick is de facto steeped on this music. I heard them enjoying Cannonball’s music one evening at Dizzy’s Membership, and I used to be simply surprised!”
Miller continues his reward of Bartley: “Patrick is sort of a mixture of Chook, Phil Woods, and Cannonball. He performs with fluidity and depth, and I like all the pieces about what he’s doing. We’re going to essentially characteristic Patricks’s group all through the entire present. We’ve completed plenty of these exhibits with Brianna Thomas, and he or she’s such a sweetheart and such a fantastic singer and so soulful.”
Steve Miller has been a contributing, cohesive addition to the Jazz at Lincoln Middle household. He’s additionally aiding Wynton Marsalis in creating a blues pedagogy by way of these performances. Marsalis has been the director of Jazz Research at The Juilliard College since 2014.
“I’ve been doing this blues challenge at Jazz at Lincoln Middle for about 5 years now,” says Miller. “After I acquired right here I didn’t know anyone, and now I’ve acquired all these new pals which might be such nice musicians, and I’m in a position to put these exhibits collectively. Its only a great factor!
“The entire technique of working at Jazz at Lincoln Middle has taught me rather a lot. I’ve realized rather a lot, and I’ve labored on plenty of issues that I in all probability wouldn’t in any other case have completed. I’m actually grateful to do these exhibits,” Miller concludes with a smile.
Scott H. Thompson is an internationally revealed author and jazz publicist.