Sammy Miller and the Congregation: Going places
March 6, 2019
A native of Los Angeles, Grammy-nominated drummer Sammy Miller has become known for his relentless focus on combining theatre and making music that "feels good."
Upon completing his master's at The Juilliard School, he formed his ensemble, The Congregation. Award-winning theatre incubator, Ars Nova selected The Congregation for the "Makers Lab" in 2017 to develop their genre-bending show, "Great Awakening." While independently the band members (playing bass, piano, tenor sax and trombone) have performed and recorded with notable artists including Wynton Marsalis, Lady Gaga, and Queen Latifah at venues including the White House, Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl, they have opted to stick together to spread "joyful jazz" throughout the world.
Sammy Miller and the Congregation will play March 9 at the Oats Park Arts Center's Barkley Theatre. The box office, Art Bar and galleries open at 7 p.m., with the performance beginning at 8 p.m. A post-performance question and answer with the artists is also planned.
Tickets are $17 for members, $20 for nonmembers. Tickets are available at Jeff's Copy Express, ITT at Naval Air Station Fallon or call the Churchill Arts Center at 775-423-1440.
When Sammy Miller and the Congregation played a gig at Santa Barbara, Calif., last October, Rebecca Horrigan gave the following assessment in that city's newspaper, the Independent.
"Walking into SOhO Friday night for the Sammy Miller and the Congregation concert felt like stumbling into a New Orleans jazz hall. The seven-piece band was decked out in white and began the show with the spirited 'Carolina Shout.' The musicians quickly set to work breaking down the "fourth wall" and walked out into the audience exuding hospitality while shaking hands, greeting fans, and setting the stage for an intimate evening of collective effervescence."
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Looking forward, though, Sammy Miller and his musicians have a big date this summer in Rhode Island. They will be part of the First Wave of artists announced for the 65th edition of the Newport Jazz Festival, Aug. 2-4 at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. Sammy Miller plays on Aug. 4.
According to a Newport news update website, "Showcasing more than 50 individual Jazz ensembles, the Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Investment Managers will offer music on four stages, including the Fort, Quad, Harbor stages and Storyville, the intimate venue located in the Newport Festivals Museum."