Matt Miller, born 1948 in
Matt started on Piano, and wanted to learn Jazz, but his teacher of the time was not up to the task………..so growing bored after 3 years of it , he switched to Clarinet in the 6th grade. He studied privately for ~ 4 of his 7 years from 6th to 12th grade, and with that became 1st Chair Clarinet in the HS Band his junior year. But not understanding the value of “scales” then, nor practicing such, he was de-throned by a younger upstart, the last semester of his junior year.
To Matt’s delight, senior year started with entering the band room to an offer to play Alto Sax, as there was need for a ‘good’ player at that spot. A subconscious desire pre-existed, as he was a Paul Desmond devotee, ( alto sax player in the Dave Brubeck Quartet), since the age of 13! “Those songs off the “Time Out” LP used to constantly play in my head”! “ The fingerings for Alto and the Clarinet are almost identical, so it was just a question of getting the ‘lip’” ! Football/Marching Band season starts the year, so he had time to work on this! By the end of the year concert, he was fairly adept! As an aside, Jimmy Ekizian (trumpet), of Hey Baby fame, was in that Band as a Junior, and so was Pete Mercer ( drummer) as a Freshman! And because of the student ‘talent’ that year, the music teachers, saw fit to use the students, (Matt, Jimmy, and others), for the VERY first time, as the players in the ‘pit orchestra’, of the annual HS Musical! (Normally themselves, (the teachers), as hired pros)!
“WHAT FUN”! It was “Li’l Abner”!
Matt recalls the FUN, by getting to play a ‘blues’ scale solo,( to a sexy dance by Monica S) (something that you didn’t ‘hear’ , or ‘see’ in band music)! ;-)
(Also…. Matt just remembered, that he killed time in study hall, by listening to Albert Schweitzer playing Bach Fugues on the Organ! ( He has it now, on CD ) ;-)
As Matt went off to SUNY at Stony Brook, he didn’t have his own horns, ( his clarinet had died the year before; he was using the high school’s clarinet and sax). And ‘change’ was in the ‘air’ ……………….!
A hall mate thankfully lent him an acoustic guitar………..and the rest is ‘history’ ! J
“Getting to see the Dave Brubeck Quartet( with Paul Desmond of course), during the Time Out tour in 1960 was a life changer!”
As well as later on, getting to see Jimi Hendrix at Stony Brook (‘68) ! There were others too! Miles Davis during the ‘Bitches Brew’ tour! Duane Allman with the Allman Brothers, before they were known), was also an unexpected knockout! The Grateful Dead with Jerry Garcia, of course! And Eric Clapton!
Favorite Quote: “Music is the space in-between the notes“ Claude Debussy!
“I have a 12”
Laser Disc of Leonard Bernstein ( conducting his last concert), with the Berlin
Philharmonic and 2 choirs, performing Beethoven’s Ninth, to celebrate the
tearing down of the
“Those folks were, and are still HUGE influences”!
( Matt attempts to do tunes by all his idols ! )
A few years out
of college,( ’72), working as a truck driver for his brothers HVAC sheet metal
shop, he broke his ankle on some icy steps at a friends house! Being laid up with a cast for 6 months, and
bored…….3 months in, he started to commute weekly to NYC from
Matt recalls “ I was at an ‘impasse’ ! So I reached out, and Myron took me to a ‘new universe’…..scales, modes, arpeggios, new chord positions……..”so THESE are the ‘tools’ the one uses to play ‘jazz’” ! J THANK YOU MYRON!!!!
Matt studied briefly with Myron, a few months, then a break, and then a few more………
Matt started teaching guitar then, using his own learning’s of classical Piano and Clarinet, coupled with Myron’s more advanced method!
“That was VERY rewarding”, and Matt is still ‘open’ to teaching………………
A few years later Matt ‘realized’ that achieving ‘very fast’ on guitar, was NOT going to bring him ‘happiness’!
So he had his ‘eye’ out for something else! Ironically, one of his students ( Brian Wolf), a high school senior, was also interested in something else! And that ‘something else’, turned out to be ‘meditation’ !
Brian, and Matt got involved with going to local meetings of Prem Rawat ( wopg.org ), around the fall of ‘74. Brian received the ‘techniques’ of meditation before Matt, and came to visit Matt with a ‘s - - t’ eating grin on his face, which Matt will NEVER forget !!!! Matt even asked him, ‘how was it’, and Brian responded by pointing to his ‘grin’ !!!! J
Matt brings this up, as “it’s the feeling within, that generates a tune” !
Matt subsequently receives “Knowledge” a few months later ( 3/75), and that ‘feeling’, becomes his main focus!
He still is teaching then, and enjoys playing with his students at lessons immensely!
A year later Matt
He composes a
Un-diagnosed (for 4 years), Matt contracts Lyme Disease in ’86 ( he had the ‘rash’ , but a negative blood test was UNFORTUNATE)! )
So ‘malaise’ from post Shingles Neuralgia has been his ‘constant companion’ since!!! L Hence…the energy to do ‘recording sessions’, is limited!
During the same era……..Matt got turned on to the Pat Metheny Group, and has been a great admirer since!
“ I go see them, every time they tour “ ! ALSO same for Jean Luc Ponty ! “ I LOVE Ponty’s composing and playing “ “ I saw him with the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the early 70’s, as well as much more recently, and now love his newer stuff tremendously! ( He’s got a an available concert DVD out that I love) “ “I also still love Andreas Vollenweider’s music, and got to see him again recently “ J
Around ’97, Matt walked into Sam Ash music store to buy a xmas present for himself, a ‘delay pedal’ , and walked out with a ‘lifetime’ present, of a Roland Guitar Synth, as well as the delay pedal ! “They had it sitting there for tryouts, and it ‘worked’!!! …. I had played the first one at a show in NYC in ’86, and it didn’t ‘track’ very well ! But to ‘round a corner’ when hearing a ‘flute’, to see that it wasn’t a flute, but a guitar synth, ‘blew my mind’, and I was “in love” J
So back to the future; I asked a salesman, “ when did they ‘figure this out’”, and he replied, “ a year ago “ , which was …….OK…………….…HOORAY ! And I bought one” J
Soooooo Matt has been practicing/playing with the Roland Guitar Synth now for about 20 years, mostly for the last 10, and is STILL enjoying being able to play ‘Flute’, ‘Trumpet’, Organ’, etc…………….” It’s so much fun for me to hear these different sounds, and to play solos using these sounds” !
Another ‘music life’ changer: About 10 years ago, Roland came out with a digital “Loop Station”
“ This device made
‘Onemanmatt’ possible!!!! With this, I
could have Rhythm Player(s) , who were ‘untiring’ ( except for occasional AA
batteries ;-) )!
Unfortunately, the LOOP Station took an unwanted ‘bath’ at
“I had been a ‘fixture’ at the Cold Spring, NY park ( April – October) for about 10 years , until they kicked me out L So now my new spot is the Peekskill Riverfront J The ‘view’ is unsurpassed! “ “I just LOVE playing outdoors, and without my good friend Scott Cameron, figuring out a way for me to play the Synth using a camcorder battery, One Man Matt outdoors would not be possible! THANKS SCOTT !!!! J “Outdoors”, …..its all about the batteries”! J
“ Wintertime though is ‘indoors’ L Sooooo if anyone has a ‘gig ‘ for me, then that would be GREAT” !
“ And, I’m hoping to record a 2nd CD when I can muster up the energy to do so! “
Below are a few pics of OneManMatt taken in various venues ;-)
Matt has a LARGE purple 4 wheel suitcase, than can transport his rig to anywhere J
Matt Miller writing for Matt Miller J
Mt Kisco 2013
Thyme Restaurant, Yorktown 2013
December 2014, Lake Purdys
Why I LOVE the Cold Spring, NY ‘playing experience’ !
A ‘fan’ on the
Practicing before a gig at the Ivory Rock Conference Center, Peak Crossing, Australia September 2006
Moorpark, Ca January 2005 TPRF.ORG Fundraiser