HRH and I have had our usual “Daddy-Daughter Date Night” including some pretzel bites at The Sanctuary and a few rounds of Exploding Kittens and now we’re relaxing with one of her Cornball selections from our last Record Fair before bedtime, the ‘Singing Whale Songs In a Low Voice‘ by Steven Miller.
She originally found this album thinking it was Steve Miller, however, it’s not the Steve Miller, it’s Steven Miller. She decided then that she still wanted it because, hey, just look at that album cover. It’s got dancing whales on it, it’d make the perfect addition to our “Cornball” selection of albums. And for $1.00, I agree.
Yes it would.
Google “Steven Miller” and you will…get nothing. It takes a little digging to find anything about the guy at all. However, eventually, I found that Miller was more of an engineer and producer than performer, who wrote, produced and performed all his own albums. ‘Singing Whale Songs In A Low Voice‘ is listed as avant-garde jazz, but I’d call it more 70s fusion and contemporary jazz. Here, Miller performs on several different instruments (including flugelhorn) including keyboards and guitar as well as composing – very well I might add. In fact, it’s frighteningly good.
It has its moments of intricate fusion, such as ‘Dreams Passed By Pts 1&2‘ as well as ‘Forgotten Parkland‘ (my personal favorite) and ‘Truffles In Transit‘, all of which could have fit nicely on any Weather Report album. By the same token, the beautiful, minimalist ‘Simple Song‘ could rival Bob James best efforts and ‘Little Bird (Passarihno)‘ – which is HRH‘s favorite – is catchy and ebulant.
Mental note to self: introduce HRH to steel drum music.
All in all, it’s a very engaging album. Sadly, this being a sort of personal project, it never really received much of a push (no shit), being on Miller’s own small Hip Pocket label. Thus it was never released on CD, which is ironic given that Miller was one of the industry’s earliest champions of digital recording technology and served as a board member to the RIAA for its Compact Disc division. It’s very well recorded as one might expect, it did embrace the technology of the day (1983) so the sound is a tad dated at times. Still, this ended up being one of the ’80s better jazz releases that I’ve heard and just begs to be re-released. One can only hope that if Mr. Miller is still with us, he might get around to doing just that.
So while we’re including this in our Cornball category of albums (largely thanks to the album title and cover), I genuinely will listen to this a few more times. Shit, HRH may as well…despite it being “jazz“, which she is still leery of. Honestly – it’s pretty damn good; a genuinely amazing score for a buck. Evidence that I should start taking more advice from the kiddo at these record fairs, that’s for sure.