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Brice Miller, Trumpet BORN: New Orleans, April 13,1974 Played with the Pinstripe Brass Band; founder and leader of the Mahogany Brass Band Interviewed at 3621 Burgundy Street, October zooz Brice Miller and Morten Nilsen (trumpets), Copenhagen Photo by Peter Nissen My dad -was a musician. He's Dwight Miller Sr. He's a saxophone player; he plays with the Pinstripe Brass Band. That's how I got my start. I wasalmost born into music, because not only did heflay with the brass band, he wouldflay thejukejoints as well. At that time, we were living at 170f Pauline Street, in the Ninth Ward. My daddy grew up uptown, in the Calliope housing development. All the members of the Pinstripe came from that area. They all went to Booker T. Washington School. Dad grew up in the midst of the second line culture. Every Sunday, there'd be a second lineparade up there. He grew up in the epicenter of jazz. I remember when I was a kid following my dad to the second line and looking up at him as heplayed. That was cool. This was when I was about five years old, getting stomped on by all the big dudes. Our house was a musical house.My dad was the leader of various club bands—he played with several of thosegroups—so there would always be musicians hanging out at the house, rehearsing and soforth. We had a music room, and when they weren't rehearsing, the room wasfilled with instruments. There was the drum set, there was the piano, there was the bigHammond organ, saxophones, trumpets, trombones. All the cats would leavetheir horns at our house.My brother and I wouldsit in the music room,and we would bang, beat, blow whatever wegot our hands on. 177 That was myformal introduction to music—playing otherpeople's instruments. I was a self-taught musician; that's how I got started. My dad sent my brother and I to Werlein's for piano lessons;that's when they were on Canal Street. We'd jump on the Desire bus and go down there. I got interested in the trumpet because my dad was trying tofind a waj to include me in the music. I think I must have been around eight or nine when they dressed me in a suit, umbrella, and some sunglasses.I becamelike thegrand marshal for the Pinstripe Brass Band. I was theguy that danced around with the umbrella. The strange thing is I was very shy—that's why I wore the sunglasses,so that nobody couldsee my eyes. Like most kids, I wasfascinated by the drums—it's the instrument that makes the most noise with the leastrequirement. Iplayed snare drum in the elementary school band. I think my dad wanted me to be a trumpet player—it was the Satchmo thing: every man in New Orleanswants his son toplay trumpet. He boughtme a cornet;I still have it now. My friend Murphy Watson was studying trumpet, and every evening after school, he'd sit down andgive me lessons: how toget aproper toneand how to make the notesand so forth. And after that, I was hanging out with my dad and seeing musicians like Robert Harris, Tuba Fats, BennyJones, Lionel Batiste, Gregg Stafford, Gregory Davis, all those cats. It was thoseguys that encouragedme to treat the music seriously—many of them have not received their due credit and exposure. From seventh grade, I started studying trumpet at AndrewJ. Bell School, in the Seventh Ward. My band director there was Donald Richardson. Finally I went to St. Augustine High School. But I got much more informal training. As a kid,on Saturdays, I wouldgo andflay inJackson Square with various small groups that didn't have names. Then I beganflaying with the Olympia Kids band, which Milton Batiste hadcreated after theJunior Olympia. Dimitri Smith, the tubaflayer, was in charge of that band. We rehearsed at Batiste's house;he would come andgive us a sermon now and then—how we should learn the tradition and culture of the music and how important that New Orleans sound is. It was agreat experience. My main influence on trumpet was GeorgeJohnson with the Pinstripe. I used toask my dad about him: why is he still in New Orleans, why is he not rich and famous, why does heplay in a brass band? I really looked up to him. And Dwayne Burnsgave me a few lessonswhen I was in high school...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780807155820
Related ISBN
9780807133330
MARC Record
OCLC
849949632
Pages
216
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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