Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom with Myra Melford, Scott Colley and Dayna Stephens
(Esplanade Tranquille. 3 July 2022. Review by Sebastian Scotney)
It was probably meant as a rhetorical question from bandleader/ drummer Allison Miller, but it definitely sounded like a sincere response to the warmth and the buoyant enthusiasm of the crowd gathered last night at one of the outlying free-stages within the Quartier des Spectacles:
“We should just move here, right?”
This top-flight New York group is powered by a supremely positive spirit. As the picture above shows, Allison Miller is totally suited to being a bandleader. Not only is her drumming is utterly full of life, she radiates positive energy, and it didn’t take long for the Montreal crowd to be completely revved up…to the point where any pause longer than about half a second was assumed to be an ending…and an invitation for some serious cheering and whooping to burst out. There was a much-needed quieter moment with the great bassist Scott Colley’s tune “Americana”. And Dayna Steohens on soprano and tenor saxes, such a fluent improviser, was calmness and authority personified.
Myra Melford, who has worked with Allison Miller for a decade and a half, was clearly enjoying herself. On her own tune “The Kitchen”, it wasn’t long before her (small, unthreatening) fists were flying. And the band closed the set on a high, with a lively movement from Allison Miller’s new suite “In Our Veins – Rivers and Social Change”.
The Esplanade Tranquille was anything but tranquil during the gig described above. But this location has nothing to do with the adjective of the same name; it is named in honour of a man…and his bookstore/ artistic community hub.