Sax great Joel Miller teams up with Symphony New Brunswick

Category: music 234

Symphony NB’s Symphonic Jazz series will see the ensemble performing original compositions with Juno Award winning saxophonist Joel Miller in early March.

Matt Carter 

The whole concept of orchestras and symphonies collaborating with musicians from outside the classical realm is nothing new. It has been happening for ages. But it sometimes takes a while for change and innovation of any kind to trickle its way down to places like, oh I don’t know, the east coast of Canada perhaps? 

In recent years, audiences have seen both Symphony Nova Scotia and Symphony New Brunswick adapt their programming to meet a wider demographic. Whether that means teaming up with a pop musician, developing programs that focus on compositions by regional composers, live scoring silent films, or as in the case of SNB’s upcoming collaboration with saxophonist Joel Miller and his jazz ensemble, crossing over into a genre that at first glance seems to exist in complete contrast to classical music’s quest for perfection, adaptation and experimentation are becoming increasingly important factors for the future of these “big bands”.

Billed as an event sharing jazz standards old and new, Symphony New Brunswick’s upcoming Symphonic Jazz series marks an important milestone for New Brunswick-born Juno Award winning saxophonist Joel Miller. Shortly after the release of his 2019 album, Unstoppable – a 21st-century chamber symphony involving 14 musical guests – the project, and the world, came to a screeching halt. 

“This project was a pandemic dream,” said Miller, who returned to New Brunswick as a result of the pandemic after living in Montreal for the past 30+ years. “Moving to New Brunswick and aligning myself with my Saint John brother‘s group Resonance (Andrew Reed Miller) and his silent film projects, I realized the dream could come together here.”

Miller explored the idea further while participating in one of the Fredericton Playhouse’s INTERmission artist residencies with a group he assembled that included Silvio Pupo on piano, Jon Bailey on drums, and Juno Award winning bassist Adrian Vedady, one of Montreal’s most in-demand musicians. 

Miller cites his friendship and musical history with Vedady as an important part of navigating this project involving so many musicians.  

“Having a history with Adrian is really important to this project,” said Miller. “We’ve worked together over the years in many different settings.”

Earlier this month, Miller and his group began rehearsing his compositions and arrangements with Symphony New Brunswick in preparation for an upcoming series of performances in Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John. 

Years of work condensed into just three performances, Symphonic Jazz just might be the coolest (and most important) show you’ll see this season. Tickets on sale now.  

Upcoming Performances: 

March 4 | Imperial Theatre | Saint John, NB
March 5 | Playhouse | Fredericton, NB
March 7 | Capitol Theatre | Moncton, NB

Joel Miller | WEB | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Symphony New Brunswick | WEB | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

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