Dave Miller Trio celebrates the end of an era with “The Mask-erade is Over”

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Pianist Dave Miller returns with straight-ahead jazz just in time to mark the end of the most strict of COVID-19 protocols. On “The Mask-Erade is Over” Miller plays a mix of original music and tribute songs. From Bing Crosby’s “Be Careful, It’s My Heart,” (1930s) to Charlie Parker’s “Yardbird Suite” and several others in between, Miller and company keeps jazz kinetic and engaging.

On “The Mask-erade is Over” Miller is joined by Bill Belasco on drums, and Andrew Higgins on bass.

About Dave Miller

Readers of this website and jazz fans might find Miller’s name familiar. He has performed and recorded with his daughter Rebecca DuMaine. Miller is a lawyer by trade, but his approach to jazz is as vibrant as any musician whose route to professionalism might have been more straightforward. Miller’s love for the music shines through in his approach.

A native of Long Island, New York, Miller grew up taking classical piano lessons. In addition, Miller learned to play jazz by ear. His playing was informed by the styles of George Shearing and Ahmad Jamal, the latter of which Miller saw in concert. Throughout high school and college, Miller continued to play jazz. However, becoming an attorney forced jazz to the back burner of Miller’s life.

Still, Miller managed to record privately before releasing his first album on the Summit label in 2009. In the years since, Miller and his trio has worked with DuMaine on six albums.

The sentiment of Miller’s latest album is no overstatement. Miller seems to be genuinely glad of the presumed end of the pandemic, as are most audiences. In Miller’s case, the feeling comes across in jaunty musical passages that make “Mask-erade” fun to listen to.

“The Mask-erade is Over” by Dave Miller Trio

The album begins the track “Anthropology.” The song is a Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie original. As they say, that is just the beginning. All of the songs are notable, but for those who have to choose just one track to focus on, the title track is a delight. “The Masquerade is Over” (song title is spelled differently) features a piano motif that evokes the rhythm and feel of a world-class dancer tripping effortlessly over the keys. The sound is sparkling and danceable. An upright bass showcase in the middle is a nice touch, just when listeners think that the song is all shine and sparkle, the bass rumbles in with unexpected nuances. The song ends as gracefully as it begins and it warrants a repeat listening. In many ways, this track is fun. It sounds like a triumph after a long time away from what the performers might call normal.

“The Mask-erade is Over” by Dave Miller Trio is available July 16, 2021.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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