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Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom On JazzSet

Allison Miller leads Boom Tic Boom at the Kennedy Center during the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.
Margot Schulman
Courtesy of the Kennedy Center
Allison Miller leads Boom Tic Boom at the Kennedy Center during the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.

Allison Miller has a jazz portfolio with Dr. Lonnie Smith, Steven Bernstein and a host of others, as well as a pop career with Brandi Carlile, Ani DiFranco and Natalie Merchant. She's a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassador, 2011 Artist in Residence at Jazz Camp West and faculty member at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. As JazzSet host Dee Dee Bridgewater says from the Terrace Theater stage, "Allison is happenin'."

Lyn Horton of allaboutjazz.com describes Miller's drum sounds: "clicks, hisses and scrapes, allusions to reverb and brush and cymbal work so fluid that it resembles water misting or swooshing across a fine sandpaper surface."

There's a "hip-shaking reworking of Mary Lou Williams' 'Intermission,'" the L.A. Times writes, and "Six Nettes" by Lisa Parrott, deconstructing Ornette Coleman.

"Spotswood Drive" is for Miller's teacher and friend, who died in 2007.

"After Walter Salb passed," Miller writes to JazzSet, "I decided to start a nonprofit scholarship fund in his honor. The Walter Salb Memorial Musical Scholarship Fund awards a deserving Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools senior student $500, to be used in furthering his/her studies in music. I encourage students to submit original music during the audition process."

After "Big and Lovely" (for D.C.-born musician Toshi Reagon), Dee Dee Bridgewater exclaims, "Allison, you rock!" And the following day, the lady who swings the drums is off to give a commencement speech at West Virginia University. We'd like to read that.

The show closes with "When You Wish Upon A Star" by the Chihiro Yamanaka Trio — Yamanaka, piano; Yoshi Waki, drummer John Davis — from the same opening night at the 2012 Mary Lou Williams Festival. For information about the 2013 event, please visit the Kennedy Center website.

With Dee Dee Bridgewater onstage, WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton hosts this edition.

Set List

  • "Cheyenne" (Miller)
  • "Intermission" (Mary Lou Williams)
  • "Spotswood Drive" (Miller)
  • "Six Nettes" (Lisa Parrott)
  • "Pork Belly" (Miller)
  • "Big and Lovely" (Miller)
  • Credits

    Festival producer is Kevin Struthers with Jean Thill. Recording by Greg Hartman and Drew Doucette. Surround Sound remix by Duke Markos.

    Copyright 2013 WBGO

    Becca Pulliam