Dave Miller, Rebecca DuMaine & Friends
Performing at The MostArts Festival Evening Concert Series
Father-daughter duo Rebecca DuMaine and Dave Miller have been performing together since 2010 and regularly make the rounds at some of the most notable jazz clubs across the country. This year, Rebecca's son Jackson, MostArts alumnus Simon Bjarning, and bassist-guitarist Peter Chwazik will join them to perform at the MostArts Festival Evening Concert Series!
Dave Miller began playing the piano at the age of 3. He was strongly influenced by his maternal grandmother, a concert pianist, and was encouraged by his parents to pursue musical study at a young age. Grounded initially in classical music, Miller gravitated to jazz as a teenager and never looked back, although his classical roots remained an essential element of his jazz orientation. He was influenced most by the stylings of pianists George Shearing and Bill Evans while also appreciating the artistry of Errol Garner, Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson.
After college Miller decided to pursue a law degree. Following a judicial clerkship he relocated from his native New York to San Francisco. Thereafter for nearly half a century Miller led dual lives, practicing law by day where, among other clients, he served as general counsel to the authority that operates the world renowned Golden Gate Bridge, and performing gigs at night. In addition to Bay Area club dates, Miller played on multiple occasions at U.S. Senate Democratic caucus retreats, in New York City for private events and at regional political events.
Over the years Miller performed largely in a trio format. Renowned bassist, Mario Suraci, whose credits range from Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich to Elvis Presley, was at his side for nearly two decades. Currently Chuck Bennett holds that position. Percussionist Bill Belasco has been his other rhythm section member for more than 30 years.
Miller has been a longstanding Summit Records recording artist. His trio’s 2010 recording, Rapture, received wide praise as it reached top 15 radio airplay rating. During the past decade Miller’s trio has been joined by his daughter, vocalist Rebecca DuMaine, on his regular gigs and on 5 Summit releases, most recently their highly acclaimed 2019 collaboration, Chez Nous.
Miller’s latest trio recording date is a centennial tribute to the late pianist and composer George Shearing. Released in October 2019, this album steadily climbed the charts while receiving a wide array of favorable print media reviews. “A dead, solid perfect jazz piano man from NoCal…capturing the flashpoint that brought bebop to the nascent suburbs, Miller loves his work and we love him for it. Killer stuff on Shearing classics” (Chris Spector, Midwest Record)
Miller’s stylings cover a broad range. His repertoire explores bebop, swing, latin and stylized ballads. As characterized by renowned jazz historian and producer, the late Herb Wong: “Dave Miller’s music is fresh as a new spring The heart of his trio is a source of pure delight and his imagination is invigorated by inspiration and springing joy.”
Rebecca DuMaine trusts songs. A jazz vocalist whose beautiful sound is matched by her exquisite taste, she’s an incisive interpreter of classic American standards who’s steeped in the tradition but not bound by it. With her keen ear for drama and supple sense of phrasing she uncovers new emotional terrain whether exploring familiar fair or the American Songbook’s back pages. Since returning to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010, she’s emerged as one of the most rewarding song stylists in a region renowned for its brimming pool of jazz vocal talent.
“I’m always trying to find a song that has a lyric that I can make my own,” says DuMaine. “I really love discovering these unmined gems from the American Songbook, songs that aren’t overplayed. And if a song is well known, I love finding an obscure verse or playing it a different way, interpreting a swing tune as a bossa nova, or swinging a ballad.”
Over the past 13 years DuMaine has released a series of acclaimed albums for Summit Records accompanied by the lithe and indefatigably swinging Dave Miller Trio, starting with 2011’s impressive debut Deed I Do. She followed up two years later with Better Than Anything, a cohesive collection of songs that, writes SoundStage, “always sparkle and often sizzle.” Her release in 2015 was The Consequence of You. As Bruce Crowther notes in Jazz Mostly, her co-billing with the trio is apt as “this is not a singer with backing group but a quartet of like-minded musicians wholly in tune with one another and with the music they perform." 2016 brought Happy Madness, which Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz declared "emotionally upbeat" with "a glimmer in every musical action." More recently, Rebecca released Chez Nous in 2019 and Someday, Someday in 2021, both of which continuing to earn critical acclaim.
Jackson Miles Bryman is a recent graduate of Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, California and he will be matriculating at UC Santa Cruz in the fall. He is a singer, pianist and actor who has brought his many talents to the stage since his days in elementary school. Among his acting roles have been Pulitzer in Newsies, Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher, Pericles Llewelyn McWallander in The Old Man and the Old Moon, as well as George Banks in Mary Poppins and Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. At the Stanford Jazz Summer Workshop in 2022, Jackson was awarded the prestigious Future of Jazz Award, and he recently was awarded the Woody Herman Award for Excellence in Jazz Performance at Menlo-Atherton High School where he was the vocalist for the jazz band for the past four years. On the piano, he is a devotee of Bill Evans while musician-singers such as John Pizzarelli and Darmon Meader influence his vocal chops - with a little Tom Lehrer on the side.
Simon was born in Roskilde, Denmark in 1979. After graduating from the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen in 2006, he performed with the major Danish symphony orchestras, Broadway shows at Det Ny Teater (The New Theater) and several rock and folk music bands. Along with steady gigging, he also taught drums and classical percussion full-time. In 2014 Simon and his wife Elizabeth decided to moved to USA, her home country.
After the move to the USA, Simon chose to take up lessons and coaching from the legendary Dom Famularo. Simon has also studied with Chris Adams, Stephane Chamberland, Claus Hessler and John Favicchia. About the life as a musician in the US, these are Simon's thoughts:
"I've been extremely lucky. Anyone who gets to make a living as a musician should consider himself/herself extremely lucky. I know I've been. Currently (September 2020), I'm teaching at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. I'm teaching 20+ students online due to Covid and I'm watching my fellow musicians deal with the reality of this "new" normal. Up until the Covid shutdown, I went from small town bars to big stages with names like Hanson, Evanescence, Lindsey Sterling and Il Divo (Told you I was lucky, didn't I?).
In between, I've worked with incredibly talented musicians from Ithaca in more Avantgarde settings from both Ithaca College and Cornell University. These days - alongside teaching - I'm writing music with my dear friend and musical partner in crime Peter Fritzen. We once had a duo called Dampfbahn and that duo is up and running again. So cool. My band in Rochester "ProgGnostic" is currently writing and recording music for a forthcoming release.
That's how I stay busy. I'm super grateful, I don't take anything for granted and I'm all about paying it forward. Hope you're doing well wherever you are."
Bassist and Utica NY native Peter Chwazik has performed at concerts and music festivals across Europe, Canada and the US. His associations have included trumpeter Don Cherry, cellist Hank Roberts, Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio and improvising vocalist Rhiannon. Peter has also backed up a wide variety of artists including Wycliffe Gordon, Hubert Laws, Bobby Militello, Marcus Johnson, Melissa Manchester, and Leo Nocentelli of The Meters, to name a few. As a composer, Peter has created modern dance scores for American Dance Asylum and David Dorfman Dance/Mark Taylor Dance Alloy, and many jazz compositions and arrangements for small and large ensembles. Closer to home in upstate New York, he can be seen onstage with Herb Smith and Freedom Trio, saxophonist Vince Ercolamento and Higher Ground, vocalists Nancy Kelly and Ronnie Leigh, the Andy Calabrese Trio, the Electrolyte trio feat. Paul Merrill, Dave Mancini, Gap Mangione, and a variety of jazz and R&B groups as a freelance sideman. He appears on new recordings by the Rich Thompson Quartet (Who Do You Have To Know, Origin 2023) and Dave Leibman with the Central NY Jazz Orchestra, due for release in fall 2023. Peter lives in Rochester NY and is a visiting lecturer in jazz at Cornell University.
Reviews of David Miller's "Just Imagine" Recording
“This is a fine, pleasurable album with clean, vibrant music reminiscent of George Shearing.” (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)
“The sure sign of an accomplished pianist is not only ion the ability to interpret a variety of compositions, but also by playing in several combinations and as a solo performer. Dave Miller demonstrates this versatility…” (Pierre Giroux, Audiophile Audition)
“A dead, solid perfect jazz piano man from NoCal… capturing the flashpoint that brought bebop to the nascent suburbs, Miller loves his work and we love him for it. Killer stuff on Shearing classics.” (Chris Spector, Midwest Record)
“A must for those who love straight ahead jazz." (Patrick Van De Wiele, Keysand Chords)
“A fine West Coast piano trio with excellent bop, swing, straight ahead and modern chops…You have high blood pressure? Here’s some organic ‘medicine’ to help with that.” (Thomas “Biz” Bisard, WNMC, Traverse City, Michigan)
“Delightful and exquisitely performed is also an apt description of the music on Just Imagine. The Dave Miller Trio has produced a marvelous recording.” (Ron Weinstock, In a Blue Mood)