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“I first took up the bass when I was 14. It was 1965 and the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion bands were in full swing. I had been playing the trumpet since I was nine, but suddenly the trumpet just wasn’t very cool. The guitar was in. So I bought a guitar, taught myself a few chords, and started a band of sorts with a few friends. I became the bass player in the band simply because I already knew the treble cleff and someone had to learn the bass cleff. My entire musical career evolved from that decision!”
From that moment on Robert Miller became immersed in music and began the steps that would lead to Project Grand Slam a/k/a PGS.
In May 2016 PGS opened for 4-time Grammy Award nominee Boney James at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in N. J. In November 2015 the band opened for Scott Weiland (formerly of the Stone Temple Pilots) at the Gramercy Theater in NYC. Next month, the band will be the featured performer at the Kirby Center For The Performing Arts in PA, and in August the band will be performing at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia and Garcia’s at The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY.
PGS has also performed at many of the better clubs and venues in NYC including the Blue Note, Iridium, The Cutting Room, and a continuing monthly residency at The Groove. In October the band will be performing at the Manhattan Center.
In August 2016 PGS will release its new album – The Queenʼs Carnival (SONY/RED) – featuring nine original tunes written by Robert – including the premiere single “The Rescue” – that are rich in texture and diverse in feel while still staying true to the PGS sound.
Also included on the album is Robertʼs totally re-imagined cover of the Kinksʼ classic, “You Really Got Me” (feat. Lucy Woodward on vocals). As Robert says, “The new album is the work that I’ve been building towards my entire career. It truly captures the two musical genres that have informed my composing and playing – rock and jazz. I consider this a breakthrough album for me and the band.”
PGSʼs prior album – Made In New York – was released in September 2015 and featured two celebrated singles, “New York City Groove” and “Fire” (Robertʼs re-imagined version of the Jimi Hendrix classic). Both singles featured 2013 The Voice semi-finalist Kat Robichaud on vocals. The videos for “Groove” and “Fire” that have been viewed over 150,000 times to date. The reviews of the album and “Fire” were universally positive, with words like “fantastic”, “damn fine album” and “hard to resist” for the album, and “superb”, “brilliant”, “excellent”, “stunning” and “unbelievable gem” for “Fire.”
“I played rock music exclusively until I was 19, and one of my bass heroes was Jack Bruce of Cream”, Robert says, adding: “In fact, don’t tell anyone, but I added a little bass figure to “Fire” as a kind of personal homage to Jack. I then took up jazz by studying with Jimmy Garrison, John Coltane’s bassist”.
Robert was a staple of the Boston music scene in the 1970’s, when jazz fusion came into vogue with Miles Davis, Weather Report, Return To Forever and others. His fusion band (which included Anton Fig of Letterman fame) performed alongside Gary Burton, Sonny Stitt, and Jacki Byard, among others, and played steadily at all the Boston area clubs.
Fast forward to the 1990’s when Robert formed The Robert Miller Group. The band’s first album, “Child’s Play” (1994), contained Robert’s first original compositions and featured such luminaries as Al Foster (Miles Davis), Randy Brecker (Brecker Brothers), Tony “Thunder” Smith (Lou Reed), Anton Fig and Jon Lucien. The band went on to play at several festivals including the Telluride Jazz Celebration and the San Bernadino Jazz Festival (with Bruce Hornsby, War and Bela Fleck).
Robert originally formed PGS in 2007. The bandʼs first two celebrated CDs, Play (2008) and Spring Dance (2012), had two top radio singles – “The Captain Of Her Heart” (feat. Judie Tzuke on vocals) from Play, and “Catch You Later” from Spring Dance. The band also had a featured role in the hit NBC-TV series Lipstick Jungle starring Brooke Shields and Kim Raver, with five of the bandʼs tunes featured in the soundtrack and Robert having a speaking part.
Says Robert: “What I’m trying to achieve now with PGS is to combine the power and beat of rock with the complexity and improvisation of jazz in a new and exciting way that takes the music to a whole other level.”