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MP3 Chuck Miller - Changes For Tena

This CD by Omaha-based trumpeter/educator Chuck Miller is a swinging, jazzy labor of love. Fellow trumpeter (and Wynton Marsalis Big Band alumnus) Riley Mullins is also prominently featured on this straight-ahead modern jazz CD.

5 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Bebop, JAZZ: Smooth Jazz

"Changes For Tena"

Produced by Chuck & Chestene Miller
Arranged by Chuck Miller
Recorded at Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey
Mastered Recording engineer: Dr. Franklin Thompson
Mastered at The Jam Factory/Selah Sound, Inc. Omaha, Nebraska on May 17, 2003
CD Artwork: Branden TyDell Miller
Front cover photography: Donnie Poast, thank you so much!

Record Reviews:
Homer''s Express
December 2003 issue
Page 7
Gary Foster, Headquarters

CHUCK MILLER - Changes For Tena
This album by Omaha-based trumpeter/educator Chuck Miller is a swinging, jazzy labor of love. Fellow trumpeter (and Wynton Marsalis Big Band alumnus) Riley Mullins is also prominently featured on this straight-ahead modern jazz album filled with Miller originals and the Woody Shaw jazz classic "The Moontrane." Smooth and swinging, Changes For Tena is well worth checking out for all jazz fans.

The driving force behind this CD project:
Mrs. Chestene Roberson Miller (a.k.a. Tena)

There are many who would say that behind every good man is a good woman. I''ll go father and say that behind every good man and good woman, there is GOD, our Lord and Savior.
Tena, as we call her, has been the main supporter or driving force behind my progress in music and other events in my life. She has been there through all the University studies, through all the bands, through all the ups and downs and although there were good times and bad times, she remained true and faithful to the progress of our family. It is her faith in GOD, which has provided the impetus for us to keep going forward.
The inception of this CD was inspired by Tena''s confidence in me to record music that anyone would consider a pleasure to listen to. The title track, "Changes For Tena" is dedicated to her and to highlight the hard times she endured during our departure from Omaha, Nebraska to attend Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey.
God has blessed her and our family to be God-fearing stewards who are able to work as a team. I shall be indebted to her for the rest of my life her dedication, love and willingness to work together and obey the word of God.
There is scripture, which states: two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he has not another to help him up. And if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken, (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12).
It is without hesitation I am able to say that the changes Tena went through to uplift her family were centered around this statement: What You Make Happened For Others, God Will Make Happened For You.
When Arnie Lawrence, saxophone player who has performed with Chico Hamilton, Clark Terry, Doc Severson and The Tonight Show Band and many others first heard trumpeter Chuck Miller at a jazz worship at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, he was surprised to find such great talent there.
Since then, Miller has gone on to graduate from The University of Nebraska in Omaha, The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, attended the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts for a year and finally went on to graduate on the same stage with world renowned trumpeter, Wynton Marsallis at Rutgers University. Miller is quickly to say that; "God has truly blessed me to have been involved in music this long, I am totally happy with my life".
For this recording date, Miller has selected musicians who are equally thankful to God for the successes in their lives.
Trumpeter Riley Mullins hails from Chicago, Illinois and is feature trumpeter with The Wynton Marsallis Big Band at Lincoln Center in New York, City. Mullins has also performed with The Louis Hays Quintet, Better Carter and Illinois Jaquet Big Band.
Trumpeter Eusi Phillips grew up with Wynton Marsalis in New Orleans, Louisiana. Phillips is a young up coming trumpeter who is destined for success very soon.
Branden McCune is a superb, versatile pianist from Chicago, Illinois, who in addition to playing the piano plays trumpet and bass guitar with great precision.
Guitarist Mark Ackerman hails from New York and is a wonderful addition to the group. After graduating from Rutgers''s University, he has become one of the premier guitarists in the New York area, able to work in any stylistic context.
The rest of the cast on this CD is of a younger generation. Bassist Bob Hart is becoming something of a regular on the New York scene since graduating from Rutgers. Phil Cuykendall the group''s drummer is equally successful in the jazz arena. Alto saxophonist Jonathon Hafner continues to soothe his listener with his smooth approach to saxophone playing.

"Changes For Tena"

Love is a straight-ahead track in the jazz vein. Miller opens this seccession with this favorite standard composed by Bert Kaempert. Chuck allows everyone to grab hold of the rein and express himself. The first solo features Miller trumpet, followed by Mullins trumpet, Mark Ackerman guitar, Bob Hart bass, Branden McCuen piano, Miller returns, plays the head and out.
Blues in NJ composed by Miller, is a blues in C minor, which he is again featured, in the first solo. Mullins, Ackerman, McCuen and Phillips follow him. The group returns to the head for the "fine".
Changes for Tena is the brainstorm of all the compositions. Composed by Miller out of the I Got Rhythm format. The trumpets here were very complimenting instead of the usually competitive cutting contest so well known among groups of the forties and fifties. It features Miller first, followed by Phillips, Mullins, and Hart. The group next trade fours with drummer Phil Cuykendall and return to the head and out.
I Should Care is a lustrous Ballard composed by Cahn, Stordahl & Weston, which features an addictive opening piano intro by pianist McCuen. Miller then delivers the most peaceful and relaxing rendition of the melody. McCuen then delivers an emotional improvisation on the melody. Miller is up next, improvising in a contrasting up-beat solo style before returning to the melody and out. We don''t want to forget the rhythm section, which deliver the most appropriate accompaniment for this piece, my complements to them.
Trumpeter Woody Shaw wrote the closing track The Moontrane; when he was eighteen. It was dedicated to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane; listen to the harmonic cycle. The first exciting solo is by McCuen, followed by Miller''s use of lyricism, his lines are flowing and virile, clean-edged but passionate. Mullins enters next, confident, using a consistent flow of melodic ideas and wide range. The group next returns playing the head and features an exciting drum solo by Cuykendall giving this piece a well-developed climax.

Ultimate thanks to All Mighty God who is the head of my life and many others deserve to be mentioned. However, I will mention those I feel have earned a special place in the development of my music career. My mother, Mrs. Essie R. Futch Miller is my first piano teacher, thank you for all you do for me, I love you so much. Thanks to my brother Freddy who taught me how to play the trumpet and encouraged me to join my high school (McRae High) band program. My sisters: Wanda, Percy and Marchetta, for being there for me during the hard times. James Tucker who gave me my first cornet.
Students and teachers from McRae High helped me a lot, especially the late great Mr. Eddie Mullins, Dr. Joseph Hale, J.T. Mitchell, James Henry Marks, Royce Don Gilmore, Robert Anthony, John Colbert, Willie A. Stafford Smith, Edward Gay Jr., and Allen J. Smith.
Musicians from Omaha, Nebraska include: Preston Love, Norman Love, Jack Murrell, Stemzy "Skeet" Hunter, John "Sugardumplin" Mallar, Donnie & Ronnie Beck, Billy Rogers, King Richard, Mason Prince, Red Higgins, Sherman Johnson, Hank Thomas, Garie Crowder, George Walker, Nate Bray, Ben Harris, Orval Johnson, Tom Henig, Earl Page, Lois McMorris, Eddie Russo, (all the Boys Club musicians, space want allow me to mention all of their names), Franklin & Beverly Thompson, Michael Reed, Professor Randy Snyder, Professor Dennis Schneider, Dr. Andrew Smallwood, Dr. James Conyers and Dr. Kermit Peters.
Professionals from the New York area: Bill Fielder, Larry Ridley, Ted Dunbar, Ralph Bowen, Jason Berg, Chris Dubrock, Jeffery Stout, Jamey Aebersold, David Baker, Jerry Coker, Wynton Marsallis and the musicians who helped record this CD. Much gratitude to all the wonderful musicians, family members and others I could not possibly mention. Please know that you are part of my world and in my heart.

God bless all of you...Chuck

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