Lisa Miller Q

Transplanted Albertan Lisa Miller is apparently thriving in Vancouver’s jazz and improv hot house. Her quartet are comprised of two sets of partners in life as well as music: cellist Peggy Lee and drummer Dylan van der Schyff are paired with pianist Miller and her husband bassist Steve Smith. The pairs’ comfort with one another shows in Miller’s quiet confidence that ideas can take their time to unfold organically, without the need for rigid arrangements. On that note, the first piece "Weary” begins with a moody free improv that only gradually works its way towards the mysterious melody. Miller’s piano is delicate, well deployed and reminiscent of Paul Bley in his angularity. "Dune” is the kind of ostinato-based groove that jazz heads love to display their licks with. However, having Lee deliver the line and van der Schyff solo after the leader thwarts any jaded response. And Lee and Miller mix it up again in "Green Ideas,” trading phrases seamlessly. Cellist Lee is consistently surprising in her choices of approach and her ringing resonant tone imbues each piece with dignity and depth. Also, throughout the exquisitely recorded CD, bassist Smith is a standout: impeccable intonation, inventive lines, and intelligent support are present in every tune. And when Lee and Smith pair up on "Q” for a long improv intro, the results are riveting. Although the music on Q is well conceived and executed, it is rather shy. Hopefully, in the future Miller will let her hair down and dare herself to let her demons come out to play. (Festival)