was born and raised in New York City into a musical family. "My father was a self-taught musician who played the trumpet. He worked weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and other occasions. He insisted that I learn an instrument, so at age 7 I took up the piano. But I didn't like it very much so I switched to trumpet like my dad. I took lessons from Phil Fisher, the first trumpet in the Radio City Music Hall orchestra, and I continued to play the trumpet throughout Junior High and High School in the school band and the orchestra."
“The world changed for me and a lot of other people in February 1964 when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. The British Invasion was in full swing, and the trumpet was no longer very cool. Everyone was playing the guitar. So I bought a guitar, taught myself a few chords, and started a band of sorts with a few friends. I became the bass player in the band simply because I already knew the treble clef from the trumpet and somebody had to learn the bass cleff. My entire musical career evolved from that!”
From that moment on Robert became immersed in music and began the steps that would lead to Project Grand Slam (PGS), for which he is the bassist, leader and composer.
Robert played rock music exclusively until he was 20. Then, as luck would have it, he took a music course at a local NYC college over the summer and was set up with a private teacher - who turned out to be Jimmy Garrison, John Coltrane's bass player. Says Robert: "Jimmy was the nicest, sweetest man and a great teacher. He introduced me to jazz. One of the first things he did was to teach me how to "walk" on the bass. After several months of lessons Robert decided to move back to Boston to finish college.
Boston in the early 1970s was a hotbed of music. This was the era when jazz fusion came into vogue, led by Miles Davis and "Bitches Brew" followed by groups like Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever. Robert's fusion band (which included Anton Fig of David Letterman Show fame) played at all the major venues in Boston and performed in concert with such artists as Gary Burton and the Brubeck Brothers. They also backed artists such as Sonny Stitt and Jaki Byard.
Fast forward to the 1990’s when Robert formed The Robert Miller Group in NYC. Their first album, Child’s Play (1994), contained Robert’s first original compositions and featured such luminaries as Al Foster (Miles Davis), Randy Brecker (Brecker Brothers), Tony “Thunder” Smith (Lou Reed), Anton Fig and Jon Lucien.
Robert initially formed PGS in 2007. The bandʼs first two CDs, Play (2008) and Spring Dance (2012), had three top radio singles – “The Captain Of Her Heart” (feat. Judie Tzuke on vocals) from Play, and “Catch You Later” and the title song from Spring Dance. In 2009 the band also had a featured role in an episode of the then-hit NBC-TV series Lipstick Jungle starring Brooke Shields and Kim Raver, with five of the bandʼs tunes featured in the soundtrack and Robert having a speaking part.
In 2014 Robert released a "Greatest Hits" album called TWENTY, featuring 20 years of Robert's recordings with The Robert Miller Group and Project Grand Slam. The excellent reception for this album spurred Robert to re-form PGS in 2015.
PGS now consists of Robert leading a core group of young, talented NYC based musicians - mainly from other countries including Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil – which he affectionately refers to as his "International cartel". Robert writes and arranges all of the band's music, and over the course of the last several years has moved the band's direction into a unique amalgam of jazz and rock. One of Robert's musical signatures is to "reimagine" Classic Rock tunes, and PGS’s versions of such mainstays as Jimi Hendrix's "Fire", The Kinks' "You Really Got Me", Cream's "I'm So Glad" and even Phish's "Free" have been incorporated into the band’s live performances.
PGS has opened for legendary artists including Edgar Winter, Blues Traveler, Mindi Abair, Boney James, YES, and Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots), and has performed at many major venues including the Ridgefield Playhouse, Mayo PAC, Count Basie Theatre, Bergen PAC, FM Kirby PAC and B.B. King's NYC.
In 2017 the band performed at 4 Music Festivals including the Jamaica Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival. In 2018 PGS headlined at 7 Music Festivals including their first two in Europe: Silda Jazz (Norway) and Nisville Jazz Festival (Serbia).
PGS's 5th CD,“The PGS Experience” (2017) consists of five studio tracks – three new originals by Robert and two new PGS-style covers arranged by Robert of songs by Cream and Phish – plus four live PGS performances of previously recorded songs that capture the power and musicianship of the band in concert. “This album continues to drive the line between rock and jazz like no other band” says Robert. "The PGS Experience" was called a "Must Know About" album by Jazziz Magazine, a "Best of 2017" by The MacWire, and reached #7 on the radio charts.
PGS’s 6th CD, “Trippin'“ (2018), consists of 10 original songs written by Robert - both vocals and instrumentals - as well as a "reimagined" version of The Who's iconic "I Can't Explain". In August 2018 the CD reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and remained in the Top 10 for the next month. Reviews of the album have been stellar including: "Trippin' promises to be one of the most talked about albums of 2018...I have no doubt that it's going to be the biggest jazz release of the latter half of the 2010s." (Skope Mag); and "A truly amazing album" (Jonathan Widran).
PGS has just released “Greetings From Serbia” (2019), a “live” CD of the band’s set at the Nisville Jazz Festival in Serbia on August 18, 2018, when PGS performed in front of 10,000+ screaming fans. The CD perfectly captures the band at the top of their game. The reviews of this album have been incredible, including: : “Greetings From Serbia is engaged listening on steroids…a postcard from beyond the realm of pop predictability…a massive achievement.” (IndieMusicReview); and “Greetings from Serbia is an exhibition in creative chemistry……Bold, beautiful and evocative… another huge win for Project Grand Slam and Robert Miller.” (TheMusic.Reviews).
Also in January, Robert and the band have recorded their next studio album. The album will consist of 12 new tracks, 11 of which were written by Robert, that further expand the PGS sound. He’s taking the band even deeper into the rock side of jazz rock fusion with much of the new material. Overall, very diverse, from hard rock to blues to jazz. This album is tentatively set for release in May/June 2019.
Robert looks forward in 2019 to a very active performance schedule. More to come on this shortly.