This is a past event.
allison-miller-smith-banfield-teaser.jpg
When: Thu., Nov. 29, 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $12-$22
Over the years drummer Allison Miller has played in front of thousands upon thousands of Ani DiFranco fans who probably have no idea she's a superb jazz musician and bandleader—backing someone who's as fervently adored as DiFranco isn't the best way to be the center of an audience's attention. Miller has also played behind Natalie Merchant, Erin McKeown, and Brandi Carlile, and the humility that's helped her become a top-flight team player and ensemble member also distinguishes her own music. She leads her current working group, Boom Tic Boom, with characteristic modesty, soloing judiciously and giving her two bandmates—bassist Todd Sickafoose, another longtime DiFranco sideman, and Evanston-bred pianist Myra Melford—plenty of space. Though Miller wrote most of the material on the trio's self-titled 2010 debut, she's also smart enough to let Melford contribute a few ruminative, moody tunes to the group's repertoire. Plenty of guests have joined Miller's band onstage—including reedist Marty Ehrlich and trumpeter Ron Miles—but only one, violinist Jenny Scheinman, made it into Boom Tic Boom. Scheinman has one foot in jazz and the other in outre country, and she infuses "CFS (Candy Flavored Sidewalks)" with melodies redolent of the west's wide-open spaces—a perfect fit for the group's lyrical, buoyant sound. She's a full-time member on the vinyl-only release Live in Willisau, recorded at a Swiss festival last year, and she'll also be with the group this weekend for its local debut. On both recordings the trio expertly balances meditative lushness (on Melford's lovely "Night") with hard-swinging drive (especially on a killer version of Mary Lou Williams's "Intermission"). —Peter Margasak

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