She might be best known as the drummer for Natalie Merchant and Ani DiFranco, but Allison Miller is an accomplished artist in her own right, standing out in a crowded NYC jazz scene with her compositions and skills behind the kit. Her sophomore album with Boom Tic Boom — a group that includes pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman (Bill Frisell), and bassist Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco) — is another such testament.
The group’s latest, No Morphine, No Lilies, is rooted in melodic jazz, but as you’ll hear from “Early Bird,” the tunes often simply cite jazz as a reference, expanding or contracting from there. At its core, “Early Bird” is progressive pop, with an echoing piano and pizzicato string part that dances in polyrhythm with Sickafoose and guest cellist Erik Friedlander (John Zorn).
“I wrote it on a cold Brooklyn morning, last February,” Miller says. “Feeling peaceful, I got out of bed, went directly to the piano, and that’s what came out.” Hear it below with a set of beautiful abstract visuals (produced by Colter Harper).