Adam Miller Trio dazzles crowd of jazz lovers

Adam Miller Trio, Grand Hotel, February 13

While Adam Miller had plenty to say on Tuesday night with the launch of his sixth album, Defining Success, the dominant language was instrumental.

Miller, from Newcastle, went to great lengths to arrange two Newcastle peformances which allow him to play with long-time friends and bandmates Dom Borzestowski and Mitch Cairns. The first was Sunday night at the Oriental Hotel, the second was Tuesday night at The Grand Hotel, featuring at the venue’s regular Tuesday night jazz club in its basement (The Underground).

It was a packed house, hot and humid, but loose with excitement.  

Miller, 37, who calls Newcastle home, is an accomplished guitar virtuoso who has a hectic global touring schedule as a soloist. Borzestowski is a drummer by trade, who plays with Gang of Youths, one of Australia’s hottest rock bands, which also has a global touring schedule. Cairns, who plays bass in this trio, moved to Melbourne from Newcastle 11 years ago and runs his own music studio while playing in touring bands that vary from Russell Morris to The McClymonts.

The show kicked off with Drugs, from the new album, a slow burner which Miller told the crowd came out of a jam that began with JJ Cale’s legendary song, Cocaine

Without fanfare, the trio rolled into Come Together, turning the Lennon-McCartney hit into a twisted, rollicking piece of satisfying jazz, with each of the three surging into the lead at various junctures.

It served as a musical footnote to the night: we’ve been away, not playing with each other, but when we reconnect, it’s always tight.

Miller came back to the mic to introduce Home, dedicating it “to anyone trying to find a safe space in the world”. It’s adventurously lazy rhythm was in contrast to the next song, Lawn, a boisterously big number which saw Borzestowski pushing on the beat. 

The work was crisp, smart, strong.

The first set came to a close with Conquer, further pushing the trio’s limits.