What a difference a year makes for Allison Miller

On October 18, 2018 Allison Miller and Boom Tic Boom (Lite) opened what has been a run of 10 shows so far at Mitchell Park (and Palo Alto Art Center) for Earthwise Productions, revving up for its 2nd 25 years in the 650 culture clash.

She played for a sparse crowd — the show was confirmed confoundingly slowly and word was spread mostly thru my text messaging — and neary everyone in the house played an instrument – -I joked that “next time lets all bring instruments and jam”.

But next time for Allison, nearly a year later, proved to be not at The Mitch, or Bing — see below, but as a resident curator for Monterey Jazz Festival. Andrew Gilbert, in his Jazztimes review said:

Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom played one of the festival’s most consistently enthralling sets. Featuring longtime collaborators such as pianist Myra Melford, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, bassist Todd Sickafoose, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and recent addition Adam O’Farrill on trumpet, the sextet bristles with singular musical voices. On Miller’s “Congratulations and Condolences” the high, piping theme gave way to a clarinet solo so elegant and lyrical it felt like an aria.

One of the highlights for the Palo Alto show, beyond the stripped down and intimate rapport with Ben Goldberg and Kirk Knuffke, was Miller’s mentoring of 16-year-old bassist Michael Gilbert (no relation to Andrew Gilbert). Somehow the Palo Alto show was during the changing of the guard on the tour from Todd Sickafoos at the Berkeley show to Tony Scherr at the Kuumbwa. But earlier that day,  a Thursday, Miller did a clinic at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento then invited one of its star pupils to sit in in the Palo Alto hard ticket show, which he (thanks to Mom his driver) did; not on the AM originals but on “Bemsha Swing”. You could see Allison nodding encourgement and applying topspin to her rhythm section new partner with her body language.


Jazz student Michael Gilbert of Rio Americano High with Allison Miller


Earthwise has 10 more shows confirmed or onsale thru March 6-7 (Mother Hips Duo), plus a Charlie Musselwhite show Dec. 29 at the Palo Alto JCC. Also: just put on sale, Elvin Bishop at The Mitch, Friday, December 20, 2019. Via EventBrite.

I’m hoping to add more photos of Palo Alto show but also this:


Mark Weiss and Allison Miller at The Mitch Palo Alto, October 18, 2018. I had a similar photo from October 2000.



About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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