Pianist Dave Miller has been a fixture on the Northern California jazz scene for quite a few years. Early in his life he discovered the music of George Shearing whose quintet made bebop accessible in the 1950s, and he considers
Shearing an important influence on his own playing although Miller has his own voice in straight ahead jazz.
George Shearing was born August 13, 1919 so Just Imagine is a celebration of his centennial in addition to being a tribute to his artistry and the wide range of his music. Rather than recreating Shearing’s hits, Miller and his regular trio with bassist Chuck Bennett and drummer Bill Belasco perform both standards and superior obscurities that Shearing had played along the way.
Among the highlights are a joyful version of Billy Taylor’s “One For The Woofer,” “You Took Advantage Of Me” (which has counterpoint in its first chorus between Miller and Bennett that is reminiscent of Shearing and bassist Brian Torff), “The Bebop Irishman” (a Ray Bryant piece that had not been recorded since 1963), and “I’d Love to Make Love to You” which was introduced by Nat King Cole in 1946. On the latter, Miller plays in the
block hand style that Shearing often utilized.
The other selections include bassist Sam Jones’ catchy “Bittersweet,” “A Beautiful Friendship,” Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation,” “This Time The Dream’s On Me,” a Latin version of “A Time For Love” and “All My Tomorrows.”
The pianist also adds variety to the program by creating a duet apiece with Bennett (“You Must Believe In Spring”) and Belasco (Jim Hall’s “Careful”) and two unaccompanied solos (“A Foggy Day” and “Just Imagine”).
On Just Imagine, Dave Miller is very much in the spotlight, performing George Shearing-inspired music that will delight anyone who loves straight ahead jazz.