Sunday, April 27, 2008

the jazzy side of STEVE MILLER (the leader of Steve Miller Band)

STEVE MILLER - Born 2B Blue (1988)

Electronic, Jazz
Jazz Pop, Contemporary Jazz, Vocal

Steve Miller - Synthesizer, Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals, Main Performer, Liner Notes, Producer, Arranger
Bruce Paulson - Trombone (
Ben Sidran (was a member of Steve Miller Band) - Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, Keyboards (
Steve Wiese - Engineer, Remixing
Phil Woods - Saxophone, Sax (Alto) (
Billy Peterson - Bass, Arranger (
Milt Jackson - Vocals (Background), Vibraphone (
Bob Malach - Saxophone, Sax (Tenor) (
Ricky Peterson - Synthesizer, Programming, Arranger (


01 Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
02 Ya Ya
03 God Bless The Child
04 Filthy McNasty
05 Born To Be Blue
06 Mary Ann
07 Just A Little Bit
08 When Sunny Gets Blue
09 Willow Weep For Me
10 Red Top

Link to download:

"I bought this because I had heard Steve Miller sing "God Bless The Child" as part of a Les Paul tribute and wanted a copy of that tune. The rest of this CD has been a very pleasant surprise. It's hard to categorize because while it is filled with standards and has a lot of jazz DNA it is also unmistakably the Steve Miller Band harmonies and all. So; if you like old standards and you like the classic rock of the Steve Miller Band you may well love this CD. The guitar solos are reminiscent of Larry Carlton's work with Donald Fagan (post Steely Dan) and in spots I felt more than a twinge of Steely Dan nostalgia while I was listening. Rather than try to categorize this CD I would suggest that you listen to the samples and if you like what you hear climb aboard the Steve Miller Band's Pegasus and take a ride to a very different destination and a different time."

"This is the most different Miller album of all his career. Seems like Steve wanted to create a bookmark in his constant-style album list and change, just for a moment, the direction of his creativity process.The only way to do it was to make a cover album, and what a cover album he recorded! All the songs are very good, jazzy, and full of a soul-ballad style, rarely listened on steve.Ben Sidran on keyboards supports Stevie Guitar Miller in songs played with a lot of heart: God Bless The Child, Just A Little, Mary Ann...The finest moments occurs when Miller croons: ooooooh! and strums his guitar very, very patiently.Recommendable when you're happy and need to share your happiness with the one you love."

"This one's timeless. His choice of covers and the fabulous renditions of them will always be among my favorites. It's the only Steve Miller I own, so maybe this isn't one for the hard-core Steve Miller Band fans, but it is for anyone who likes a soulful jazzy smooth-as-caramel take on some great songs!"

"I had, like so many other people, forgot about this 1988 release from Miller. I like most people was still hearing the overplayed classics from Miller from the 70's, the songs radio still overplays. I would have not even thought of this album had I not seen the Miller Video for "Just A Little Bit", a song that Elvis Presley recorded for his forgotten "Raised on Rock" album back in 1973. I liked the Elvis version of the song and I liked Miller's updated version, so I asked my wife to get this Miller album for me for Christmas and she did. I looked at the song titles and thought oh no, after seeing "Zip A Dee Doo Dah" and "Ya Ya". However Miller adds his cosmic sound to "Zip A Dee Doo Dah and breathes life in the old Lee Dorsey tune, "Ya Ya" The album is a little too mellow in spots and towards the middle of the album songs start to sound the same but the fore-mentioned "Just a Little Bit" and the perky "Red Top pull the album back up and make the album worth having"

"Disregard the fact that the "space" in Steve Miller's "space blues" was a large part of why he had his own distinctive musical identity, because if you're going into 1988's Born 2B Blue looking for a return to his trademark space blues, or even a revitalization of his roots, you'll be sorely disappointed. In fact, this isn't even a blues album -- it's a jazz album, pitched halfway between soul-jazz and smooth jazz. He's able to draft such heavy-hitters as Phil Woods and Milt Jackson for guest spots, and his taste in material is quite nice, balancing the overly familiar ("Willow Weep for Me," "God Bless the Child") with relatively obscure R&B cuts ("Ya Ya," "Mary Ann") and selections that demonstrate that he's a genuine fan, such as Horace Silver's "Filthy McNasty." Now, does all this make Born 2B Blue a worthwhile genre exercise? Well, in a sense, it does, since Miller is passionate as he can be, turning in charmingly laid-back performances that may not be noteworthy, but are pleasant as can be. So, it winds up being something that's modestly impressive and enjoyable as it's playing, but no matter what its virtues are, it's more noteworthy for what it is than what it gives." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

More review:


Ben Sidran was a member of Steve Miller band between 1968-1973 and 1990-1994.In 1973 Sidran left Steve Miller Band to pursue his solo jazz career.Steve Miller helped him as a guest guitarist on his 3rd album "Puttin' in Time on Planet Earth" (1973).More than ten years later Steve Miller appeared again on a Ben Sidran's album "On The Cool Side" (1985).Their next work was Sidran's "On The Live Side" (1987) album,which is a great live session.Soon Miller started to work with Sidran and his jazz musicians (Phil Woods,Ricky Peterson and Billy Peterson) on his only solo album "Born 2Be Blue" which was released in 1988.These jazz musicians later continued with Ben Sidran and/or joined Steve Miller band (Billy Peterson joined Steve Miller band (1990-1994) as well as Gordon Knudtson (since 1990)),as you can see on Miller's Wilde River (1993).I have added it to show you how good these musicians are in different styles (jazz-rock-blues).( The last track is a beautiful jazz song!)
Check the credits for more.

I didn't add Sidran's "Too Hot To Touch" 1988 LP,though it is great and it's style is close to Miller's 1988 album ,even the credits are almost the same (Bob Malach/Ricky Peterson/Billy Peterson/Paul Peterson/Gordy Knudtson) ,but Steve Miller didn't played on it.
I will make an entry this year with Ben Sidran,when you can listen not only to this album,but also Sidran's 1973 album where Steve Miller participated.

BEN SIDRAN - On The Cool Side (1985)

Electronic, Jazz
Style: Jazz Pop, Smooth Jazz, Vocal

Ricky Peterson - Synthesizer, Programming, Vocals (bckgr)
Patty Peterson - Vocals (bckgr)
Steve Miller - Vocals
Paul Peterson - Drum Programming
Ben Sidran - Synthesizer, Vocals, Fender Rhodes
Howard Arthur - Guitar
Mac Rebennack - Vocals
Billy Peterson - Bass, String Arrangements


01 Mitsubishi Boy
02 Lover Man Pt. 1
03 Lover Man Pt. 2
04 Brown Eyes
05 On The Cool Side
06 Old Hoagy
07 Heat Wave
08 Take It Easy Greasy
09 Up A Lazy River
10 That's What The Note Said
11 Lost In The Stars

Link to download:

"More like low-end fusion and smooth jazz. It contains electric drums and basically just programed music with Ben on vocals. His words in the songs seem more like poetry that jazz. I do not recommend it."

"This cd is great! I buy copies of this to give to my friends!"

"Ben Sidran's musical persona has always been one of cool-cat hipster, talk-singing his songs in a style reminiscent of his mentor, Mose Allison. On the Cool Side was one of his more commercially viable solo releases, finding an audience on the small coterie of contemporary jazz stations in the mid-'80s. The title track is a classic of the genre, an upbeat, joyous affirmation of life, featuring a backing vocal from old pal Steve Miller. Sidran's take on "Lover Man" adds a whole new funky dimension to that oft-recorded warhorse, as do his versions of "Heat Wave" and "Up a Lazy River," the latter featuring Dr. John on second vocal. The music on this recording is heavily electronicized, with programmed drums, synthesized riffs and Fender Rhodes piano, but it sure sounds like a lot of fun. And, you'll find yourself walking down the street singing "keep on searching, keep it on the cool side" with a big smile on your face." ~ Jim Newsom, All Music Guide

"Low end jazz a wonderful cd for those with very basic and uninformed ear. Simplistic and sutle."

BEN SIDRAN - On The Live Side (1987)

Electronic, Jazz
Jazz Pop, Contemporary Jazz, Vocal

Ricky Peterson - Synthesizer, Vocals
Gordon Knudtson - Drums
Steve Miller - Guitar, Vocals
Ben Sidran - Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Phil Woods - Saxophone (Alto)
Billy Peterson - Bass

01 The Doctor's Blues
02 Broad Daylight
03 Piano Players
04 Turn To The Music
05 A Good Travel Agent
06 There They Go
07 Lover Man
08 Mitsubishi Boy
09 On The Cool Side
10 Space Cowboy
11 Last Dance

Link to download:

"Does Ben Sidran sound familiar to you? This artist has changes all my perception on the multi gifted crooner with an excellent voice and with an awesome keyboard technique. Why? Today the crooner tradition is in a good shape and the new generation of crooners is more or less divided into two categories - the Tin Pan alley / American songbook represented by the likes of Harry Connick and Michael Buble, the second category by modern and musically more inventive crooners in the tradition of Mose Allison and Eddie Jefferson. This is where Ben Sidran belong and rules the ground. 14 years after his debut as a leader with the great album "I Lead A Life" (available only from Japan), the 1986 "One The Live Side" album represents on of the greatest live albums recorded among the crooners. Teamed with his working band of and guest appearances by guitarist Steve Miller and long-time alto sax friend Phil Woods, they give the listener a joyous performance in both acoustic- and electric format. The concert kicks-off with an all solo blues performance, then into duo and trio format and the latter five tunes with synth drums and keyboards. The beauty of this album is the great melodic approach and melodies, intellectual texts and the storyteller himself singing and talking. The "Piano Players" tune is telling the history of piano jazz players in 3 minutes....and what a story teller!
Sidran says it the best in the album opening introduction - "this is captured music, not manufactured music". He's 150% right, so get online to order! "

"The follow-up to the popular On the Cool Side, this recording captures Ben Sidran live in concert with his working band and a couple of guests, alto saxophonist Phil Woods and longtime pal, guitarist Steve Miller. The first half of the performance includes some of Sidran's earlier works, when he was working in an all-acoustic format, while the second half has more of the Cool Side sound. The concert is entertaining and the playing is first-rate, though listeners familiar with Sidran only through Cool Side may be surprised at the amount of space accorded his acoustic side, and the musical historian voice he employs on the older compositions. Especially interesting is a jazz reworking of the Sidran/Miller composition "Space Cowboy," which first appeared on the 1969 Steve Miller Band album Brave New World. This concert was also released on video." ~ Jim Newsom, All Music Guide

Read more here:

More about Ben Sidran with Steve Miller here:

About Ben Sidran:

STEVE MILLER BAND - Wilde River (1993)

Pop Rock

Artwork By [Cover Design] - Christie Rixford , Dog & Pony , Jim Welch
Bass, Piano - Billy Peterson
Drums, Percussion - Gordy Knudtson
Guitar - David Denny , Jay-Bird Koder
Guitar, Keyboards - Leo Sidran
Harmonica - Norton Buffalo
Organ - Ben Sidran
Piano [Acoustic] - Joey Heinemann
Producer, Mixed By - Steve Miller
Recorded By - Rick Fisher /Recorded By, Mixed By, Vocals, Guitar - Steve Wiese
Saxophone [Tenor] - Bob Malach


01 Wide River (3:56)
02 Midnight Train (4:17)
03 Blue Eyes (5:21)
04 Lost In Your Eyes (3:43)
05 Perfect World (3:43)
06 Horse And Rider (4:07)
07 Circle Of Fire (3:43)
08 Conversation (4:10)
09 Cry Cry Cry (4:16)
10 Strange Blues (4:26)
11 Walks Like A Lady (3:55)
12 All Your Love (I Miss Loving) (5:15)

Link to download:

Product Description
1993 return to the fray of the veteran Texan rocker was his debut for Polygram Records. While it had generated some airplay at the time, it didn't sell near as many copies as his previous catalog at the time. As time goes on and Miller's work is reconsidered, many who discover this album find that it fits nicely alongside the rest of his work and regard it as one of his best.

"WIDE RIVER is a great latter-day album from the Steve Miller Band. Even though it was recorded in 1993, it still sounds like 1977 never ended when you listen to it. Anything on this album would have been right at home on GREATEST HITS 1974-1978, with the music still sounding like a pop version of the Allman Brothers Band's BROTHERS AND SISTERS. The fact that Miller, like most 70s rockers, advocates sanctions on Indonesia in retaliation for that country's trumped-up drug-smuggling conviction of a young Australian tourist makes this CD/cassette an essential purchase for both your ears AND your conscience."

"this is a great album you know why??, because even though it was 1993, the steve miller band was still sounding like it was the 1970's, when i first heard the song "wide river" i was blown away!!, i mean the melody and lyrics where pure vintage!!, remember that this was the time bands like nirvana, pearl jam, guns n'roses and even old timers like aerosmith where on top and all had great albums that year, but even though wide river never became that popular, it still reminded a lot of people that great music never dies, to me it was one of the great album the came out of the class of '93, maybe a lot of people may not agree with me, or just maybe i'm an old fashion guy who still enjoys good music!!p.s. cry,cry,cry is another great song, with a bluesy sound and great guitar!!"
"I think this album is what people expected as a follow up to Book of Dreams. It has the fat guitar tones and mix of Fly Like an Eagle and Book of Dreams. It is also the same songwriting style of those albums. The only thing different from Fly Like an Eagle is that the experimental synth intros are not there. If CDs held 150 minutes of music, I would have Book of Dreams, Fly Like an Eagle, and Wide River all on one CD."

More review:

Steve Miller news:



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this; I hope to explore more of your recommendations down the road, if that would be OK."

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Astermeds Online said...

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4:34 AM  
Anonymous hcg said...

Oh wow, this got every one going - fascinating input mixed with a good read.

10:48 AM  

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