Following their award-winning collaboration with Ethio jazz Godfather Mulatu Astatke (Mojo magazine Top 50 of the year 2009, Sunday Times World Music Album of the year), pioneering UK collective The Heliocentrics resurfaces alongside another fascinating jazz enigma, ethno-musicologist, jazz maestro and multi-instrumentalist, Lloyd Miller.
Learning various instruments and immersing himself in New Orleans jazz through his father, a professional clarinet player, Lloyd Miller first trained himself in the styles of George Lewis and Jimmy Giuffre and cut his first Dixieland jazz 78 rpm record in 1950. During the late ‘50s, his father landed a job in Iran and Miller began to develop a lifelong interest in Persian and Eastern music forms, learning to play a vast array of traditional ethnic instruments from across Asia and the Middle East.
He toured Europe heavily, basing himself in Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany (where he played with Eddie Harris and Don Ellis) and, most famously, in Paris where he worked with oddball bandleader Jef Gilson, a phenomenon in French jazz during the early ‘60s. Miller returned to the Middle East during the ‘70s, landing his own TV show on NIRTV in Tehran under the name Kurosh Ali Khan. His show became a national fixture and ran for seven years.
Miller has since been a vocal ambassador for preserving the traditions of many forms of Eastern music. In recent years, his mid-‘60s album ‘Oriental Jazz’ has become a collector’s favourite and the UK’s Jazzman label have issued a compilation, ‘A Lifetime In Oriental Jazz’, covering work from across his career. The renewed interest in his music has spawned this new collaboration with The Heliocentrics, a freeform mix of Eastern arrangements, jazz and angular psychedelics and represents the Heliocentrics’ most accomplished work to date. Tracks include the reflective, yearning ‘Spirit Jazz’, a new version of Miller classic ‘Massom’ and the cinematic ‘Electricone’.
Album artwork features photography by Alexis Maryon.