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L.A. Jazz Scene

Russ Miller Jazz Orchestra
You And The Night And The Music
(Self-released)

The big band era ended in 1946 and today there are extremely few full-time jazz orchestras (other than Jazz At Lincoln Center and the Count Basie Orchestra). But despite that, there are still a countless number of swinging big bands playing locally in cities around the world. Many are rehearsal bands that only perform in public on an occasional basis, but quite frequently these neighborhood ensembles feature top-notch musicianship, colorful arrangements and excellent soloists along with a strong group spirit.

All of those qualities can be heard in Russ Miller’s big band, an orchestra based in Detroit. Miller, who plays alto and flute with his orchestra, wrote all 12 of the arrangements, also contributing the exciting Latin jazz piece “El Gato Armonico.” His wife Jeannine Course-Miller is featured on half of the selections, displaying a strong and attractive voice and singing quite well.

The 16-piece orchestra features such fine soloists as pianist Rick Roe, trumpeters Walter White, Rob Smith, Anthony Stanco and Charlie Miller, trombonist Chris Smith and tenor-saxophonist Keith Kaminski; the trumpeters are often the stars. In addition to the straight ahead pieces and some ballads, the high points are generally the Latinized pieces, especially “Cinnamon and Clove” (which could have retitled “Cinnamon and Clave”), “El Gato Armonico” and “It Could Happen To You.”

A high quality modern mainstream orchestra that looks back towards both bebop and classic Afro-Cuban jazz, Russ Miller’s orchestra on You And The Night And The Music revitalizes the big band tradition. You And The Night And The Music is recommended and available from www.doctheoryrecords.com .

By Scott Yanow

Jazz Society of Oregon Jazz Scene November 2016 page 27

You And The Night And The Music;  Russ Miller, alto sax, flute, arranger

Big band swing is alive and well in Michigan, complete with a spiffy big band singer too.  Her name is Jeannine Course-Miller, wife of the leader.  One thing is for sure, she is way better than the Mrs. Miller of years gone by.  And this Mrs. Miller sings with pizzazz on 8 of the 12 tunes done here.  She is at her best on the likes of "It Could Happen To You" (played with a little Latin flair); The title tune "You And The Night And The Music"; and the frisky Peggy Lee hit "I Love Being Here With You".  And so it goes on a succession of older and more recent quality pop tunes.  Let us hear it for the Big Bands!  Self produced 2016; appx. 61 min.

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Hi Jeannine,

The CD that you and Russ produced is absolutely awesome. It has been in my car carosel for months.  Chuck Pasque did an awesome job on the recording. The music is so refreshing to my ears !

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