Trust

“Reindeer Glue”

(Blue Canoe)

As a young man growing up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, guitarist Mike Miller was thunderstruck after hearing Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. Fusion became an obsession, as he delved into the music of Chick Corea, Weather Report and John McLaughlin. In Denver, he’d play alongside fusion touchstones Larry Coryell, Bill Frisell and even Corea himself, with whose Elektric Band he recorded. A treasured sideman in and out of the jazz world — he’s toured with Boz Scaggs since 2014 — Miller also leads his own bands, as heard on his recent release Trust (Blue Canoe). Actually, Miller leads four separate bands on the album, including the remarkably deft ensemble that plays on lead-off track, “Reindeer Glue,” included here. The guitarist’s textured riffing serves as a rhythmic scaffold for bassist Jimmy Earl’s quickstepping bass solo in the song’s intro, and the pair are soon joined by excitable drummer Gary Novak. The tune settles into a laid-back groove with the addition of Jeff Babko’s Fender Rhodes and a sunny horn section comprising trumpeter Walt Fowler and saxophonist Brandon Fields. Miller stretches out with some gently burning leads, and both Babko and Fowler distinguish themselves with generous solos. The dazzling musicianship, as throughout, is all in service of Miller’s captivating melody.

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