It’s early January, when most Aussies are kicking back for some well-earned time out.
But not Adam Miller. He’s found time for a chat over a coffee (Nitro) after a morning of rehearsals. He’s got a gig with a fellow guitarist in the evening, and another the next night in another mate’s show.
It’s been a long time, maybe never, since Adam Miller let the grass grow under his feet. He’s been touring the world as a jazz guitarist for the last eight years, and constantly gigging in Newcastle and Australia when he’s on home terra firma.
Now, the time is right for a new move: he’s heading to US, Los Angeles in particular, for a six-month stint to make music and perhaps much more. His wife, Holly Clayton, a formidable jazz and pop singer, is going with him.
“We just really had this strong feeling about being based in LA, able to check out the scene, how it works,” he says.
At age 38, Miller is wise to the ways of the world – fewer studio musicians, more producers who make all the music, more music self-made with technology advances. But none of that changes his bread and butter: performing live.
“I have this joy of performing, being in the moment, and you have to take your chances and just go,” he says.
While he will hit the ground running, performing at the massive National Association of Music Merchants show in Anaheim in late January, Miller plans to immerse himself in the LA music scene in coming months.
“LA is huge for current jazz scene and improvised music – left-of-centre stuff, which is the world I live in,” he says.
One of the places he is keen to play is the bluewhale, which he calls the premier jazz venue in Los Angeles. The club is in the Little Tokyo district in downtown Los Angeles, inside a Japanese restaurant and art gallery.
Miller will also be doing some touring in the US, but the main aim is to sharpen his contacts and music in LA.
There’s an opportunity to hang out and play with so many of my heroes and friends there,” he says. “I usually fit in an hour here or there. Now, I can spend more time and work on things together, which will be nice.”
Miller has been writing new music and recording already this year, a quick turnover from his last album, The Defining of Success, which came to market in 2018. In a dream world, he would be able to tour the US with the main players on that album, Mitch Cairns and Dom Borzetowski, but to this point the time and economics haven’t worked out.
But you never know what’s next. The best result of basing himself in Los Angeles will be acquiring an agent (he does all his own bookings) that will make it easier to tour internationally.
From the first time he went to the US in 2007, he’s had some amazing experiences, playing with Tommy Emmanuel, meeting Charlie Hunter, playing with Les Paul.
“I’m trying to be more open to the fairytale going this time,” he says.