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Acclaimed country blues and jazz musician John Miller to present lecture, concert

January 25, 2013
By cnp
Posted in Community Events

Internationally acclaimed country blues and jazz musician and guitar teacher John Miller will present a lecture on music as well as a concert during a visit to University of the Ozarks on Feb. 20-21 as part of the university's 2012-2013 Walton Arts & Ideas Series.

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Country blues and jazz musician John Miller will present a music lecture as well as a concert during a visit to Ozarks on Feb. 20 and 21.

Miller will present his lecture at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 20. He will give a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21. Both events will be held in Rowntree Auditorium, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center. Both the lecture and the concert are free and open to the public.

The title of Miller’s lecture will be "The Musical Language of the Blues."

"We’ll be taking a look at how different singers and players phrase the blues, the most commonly encountered blues forms: 12-bar, 8-bar, and 16-bar, and the role of call-and-response in the way blues bounce back and forth between a vocal line and an instrumental answer," Miller said. "In the course of the lecture, we’ll listen to historic recordings that illustrate the points being discussed, as well as having some musical points demonstrated."

Miller has been performing country blues, jazz and Latin American music for more than 40 years. By the time he was 27, Miller had released five solo albums to international critical acclaim. Those albums ranged from country blues and old time country music to the songs of George Gershwin. For the next 15 years, he focused on teaching, founding two music camps, composing, and building a vocabulary in jazz and Latin American music. In recent years he has released CDs with a jazz trio, Catwalk; duos with mandolinist John Reischman, violinist Ruthie Dornfeld, and singer Becky Kilgore; and French cabaret music with the ensemble Rouge.

Says Miller of his musical travels, "I’ve played many different styles of music in recent years, but I’ve come to realize that everything I’ve done has been informed by my early involvement with country blues and the lessons I learned from that music: the primacy of rhythm and the need to communicate with clarity and strength of purpose," he said. "I strive for those qualities in the music I play, and I hope that what I do honors the memory of my heroes, like John Hurt, who have passed on."

In 2011 Miller released "This Old Hammer," his first solos blues CD in over three decades. He and his wife, Ginny, make their home in Seattle.