Drum Tricks with Allison Miller: Using Alternate Percussion

You've probably heard Allison Miller's work, whether you realize it or not. The range of artists she has worked with is rivaled only by the range of sounds and timbres she can coax out of her drums.

Her journey from one of Downbeat magazine's "Up and Coming" in 1991 to respected session musician, bandleader and composer has led to collaborations with singer-songwriters like Natalie Merchant and Ani DiFranco, jazz musicians like Marty Ehrlich and television shows like "The L Word" and "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

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But defining her work only in terms of who she's associated with would be a disservice to her singular talent as a visionary percussionist, teacher and composer. Her group's most recent album, Otis Was a Polar Bear, perfectly illustrates the sense of possibility and rejection of genre or "proper use" conventions that permeate Allison's musicianship.

She leads the group - performing as Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom - with the same sort of magnetic energy that comes across even in simple instruction like the video above. It's no wonder, then, that the US State Department chose her to serve and tour as our Jazz Ambassador to East Africa and Asia. Here's to sharing that sense of joyful exploration.

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