Adam Miller and mates push the cool jazz button

Instrumentalist: Adam Miller.
Instrumentalist: Adam Miller.

When Newcastle jazz guitarist Adam Miller fractured his left arm while mountain bike riding a year, he probably didn’t expect it to affect his music in the way that it has.

Miller, an international touring solo artist, had to push through the pain and hit the road for a European tour only a week after breaking his arm.

The result was an unexpected change of attitude.

“I changed my approach to everything,” he says. “I played a lot of songs on the new album around that time and .. I didn’t have to sort of be as flashy.

Miller found himself still playing with long-time Newcastle musicians – and friends of his - Dom Borzetowski and Mitch Cairns. And over a stretch of two years, they etched out the tracks on the new album, titled The Defining of Success.

“The content in general is a litle bit mellower and less thinking about what I have to  prove, and what I want to write musically,” Miller says.

“It’s hard when you’re in the guitar world you always ... there is this part that always has to be flashy. And then there’s also a part of me where I just still want to be a songwriter.”

All 10 songs have single word titles, starting with the first track, Love, written for his wife, Holly Clayton. 

Of course, Miller’s long-term music mates have enjoyed a huge amount of success themselves, with Borzetowski on drums for Gang of Youths, probably the hotteest Australian rock band in the world now, and Cairns operating his own studio in Melbourne and touring with the likes of Russell Morris, Leo Sayer and the McClymonts. Another mate, Jason Lowe plays slide guitar on two cuts on the album.

“The songs took on their direction rather than it being about totally in-your-face guitar playing,” Miller says.

“It’s part of the whole process of life. This whole album. The defining of success is not the idea that you’ll get there, but you’re constantly redefining what success is, as you get older, as the world changes.”

Adam Miller, with Borzetowski and Cairns, plays the Oriental Hotel in Cooks Hill on Sunday night and the Grand Hotel on Tuesday night. They will be playing songs from the new album.