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JiMiller Band's Final Live CD Recording at Park Street Tavern on April 28
By Margaret Marten
Mar/Apr 2012 Issue

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New band memer Michael Miller rocking with his father Jim. Photo Gary Kasunich

Veteran rocker and Clevelander Jim Miller has been jamming since the ‘70s, and performing here in Columbus off and on for 30 years beginning with a basement gig at Bernie’s Bagels in 1982.

His five-member band, the JiMiller Band, a regular at the Park Street Tavern, will return to Park Street on Saturday, April 28 to do a final recording for an upcoming live CD. Miller’s son Michael, 25, recently joined the group, so the April show will feature the spirit of father and son on stage with the energized crowd and other band members making music history.

The band’s varied style follows the tradition of The Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers with freeform improvisation. Jim Miller performed with members of those groups during the early years of his career with Oroboros, his former band that started up in 1980.

“We were sort of an anomaly because we liked the improvisational music,” said Miller about the band’s genesis. “People would say to us ‘The sixties are over,’ but we always felt the sixties were a renaissance.” That persistence paid off. “We did a lot of improvising and a lot of cutting our teeth in Cleveland, and the band just hit a wave. A lot of people started getting hip to the jam band music, and we were sort of in the forefront in the Midwest.”

The perks of riding that wave became apparent as they launched out on national tours, opening for celebrated musicians and bands like Santana, The Kinks, Hot Tuna, and Richard Thompson. The blend of blues, country, Cajun, old rock ‘n’ roll, jazz and bluegrass that pushed Jim Miller into prominance during those years continues to emanate from his band today.

Miller cut six CDs while working with Oroboros, and the upcoming CD for the JiMiller Band – which will include the live performance on April 28 – is their fifth. Material for the CD will focus on “off-the-cuff” jams and probably include a few of Miller’s compositions. “The originals are influenced by the Beatles a lot,” said Miller, “because we’re looking at harmonies and melody lines and that sort of thing.”

The influence of the Beatles began a long time ago, in fact. According to Miller, he developed a love of music early on, but it was hearing the Beatles that made him pick up a ukulele with a missing string and start to learn songs and melody lines himself – before his mother finally bought him a guitar. “I was really blessed to be in that time period. Later, my high school buddies and me, we had a dream to start a band and buy a farm. That was the genesis of the band Oroboros.”

Chelsie’s in the Short North was “home” to Jim Miller and the band for a long time. “I can’t say enough about Brad [Capuano] and the old Chelsie’s. It was a great place. And now the same sort of vibes happen in that Park Street.”

DETAILS - Saturday, April 28, 2012 @ 10 p.m. Park Street Tavern • 501 Park St. 614-221-4099 • www.jimiller.com

© 2012 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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