Joel Miller

Joel Miller


Creative compositions and arrangements. Heartfelt expressive soloing. Fun funky grooves. Carefree soaring, emotionally satisfying melodic impulses that leave the audience grinning and tapping their feet. CD to be released this fall on Artistshare.


"What is doubtless one of the most creative jazz productions to come out of Canada."
-Montreal Gazette

"Parfois séduisante, parfois languisante"
-Jazz Hot (France)

Mandala is a creative Jazz ensemble led by Canadian saxophonist & composer Joel Miller. The group emerged from an exceptionally productive period of compositional workshops organized by Miller with fellow musicians Thom Gossage (drums), Bruno Lamarche (Saxophone, Clarinet & Flute), Fraser Hollins (Bass), Bill Mahar (Trumpet & Cornet) and Kenny Bibace (Guitar) in 2003.

Since the release of Mandala (Effendi Records) in 2004, the ensemble has received praise from audiences and critics across Canada, the United States and France. Highlights include winning an Opus Award (Quebec Arts) for "Concert of the Year". In 2006 Mandala performed one of their most spirited and memorable concerts at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with special guests Effusion, a 21-piece gospel choir. Recently the group traveled to France and Belgium where they introduced their music to new audiences, and received accolades and raves from the media.

Joel Miller was born in Sackville, New Brunswick and picked up the saxophone at age 10. He moved to Montreal in 1988, graduating from McGill University's jazz program. He later studied with jazz luminaries Dewey Redman, Kenny Wheeler, Chucho Valdés and Pat Labarbera. His first recording, 1996’s Find a Way (Page Music), prompted Globe and Mail critic Mark Miller to write: "His solos are supremely melodic…think of Stan Getz, or of John Coltrane at his most wistful... a terrific debut CD." Joel Miller subsequently won the “Grand Jazz Award” at the 1997 Montreal International Jazz Festival. Miller's discography includes Playgrounds (1998, Justin-Time Records), ... and then everything started to look different ... (2000, Effendi Records).

Throughout his career, Miller has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Ingrid Jensen, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder, Brad Turner, and Steve Amirault. Known as a lyrical and sensitive player, he is a favourite of top-flight jazz vocalists, and has toured with Denzal Sinclaire, Michael Buble and John Labelle. Joel’s long running collaboration with Latin-Jazz artist Joé Armando has led to appearances alongside Tito Puente, Ray Baretto, Yuli Bonaventura and Cuban Son master, Eliades Ochoa. Joel recently played with virtuoso Latin-jazz bassist Oscar Stagnaro and Mozambique musician Zé Maria.

Collaborative projects that Miller has participated in include A.S.A.P (Christine Jensen, Miles Perkin, Thom Gossage), Montreal Saxophone Quartet (Chet Doxas, Remi Bolduc and Eric Hove), Sky Beneath My Feet (Nate Miller, Tommy Babin) Follow Follow (Rainer Wiens, Jean Derome), and The Motion Ensemble (Andrew Miller, Darcy Gray, Nadia Francavilla).

Along with winning the Opus award in 2005, Miller¹s fourth album, Mandala, made the highly regarded All About Jazz “Publisher Picks” and was also chosen by La Presse critic Alain Brunet as one of the top five jazz albums of the year. Joel Miller was also nominated for the ADISQ Awards (Jazz Album of the Year), National Jazz Awards (Best Acoustic Group) and the Canadian Independent Music Awards (Jazz Group of the Year).

In October 2006 Miller collaborated with Danish guitarist Torben Waldorff, Peter Nilsson on drums and bassist Mattias Welin, while touring Sweden and Denmark.

2006 Joel Miller Mandala, Opus Award
Concert of the year (L’Off Festival July 2nd, 2005)
2005 Joel Miller Mandala, All About Jazz 2005 Publisher Picks
2005 Joel Miller Mandala, "Best of 2005" La Presse (Alain Brunet)
2005 Joel Miller Mandala, National Jazz Awards nomination
2005 Joel Miller Mandala, ADISC nomination
(Quebec Music Awards)
2005 Joel Miller, CMW (Canadian Music Week) Indie Awards, Jazz Group of the year nomination, Toronto, ON
2003 Joel Miller …and then everything started to look different…, East Coast Music Awards Nomination
2003 Joel Miller …and then everything started to look different…, Opus Award Nomination
1997 Joel Miller Quintet, duMaurier Grand Jazz Award,
Montreal International Festival


Afternoon Off

Written By: Joel Miller

Isn't this wild
this whole day
everyone's out
walkn' round goin' through the park
your smile surrounds, surrounds me like the sun
shinning down through the trees.

Isn't this cool
you can see cars start to dance on the street
and when you speak, your words, your words turn to rhymes that fit the rhythm of my song.

Saying Goodbye

Written By: Joel Miller

If you take all these times we've been together and think of them over they become like little souls
slowly the sail off in the wind like dried leaves they zig zag set free

Its not that I won't see you or that we won't meet sometime and talk bla bla bla
It's just that I won't be able to hold you like I did before you said goodbye



CD coming out this fall on ARTISTSHARE

Mandala (Effendi Records 2004) Samples also available at
And Then Everything Started to Look Different (Effendi Records 2000)
Playgrounds (Justin-Time 1998)
Find a Way (Isthmus/Unity 1996)

Joel Miller (as sideman):

A Shorter Distance - Christine Jensen (Effendi Records 2002)
Collage - Christine Jensen (Effendi Records 2000)
Atmosphere - Brian Hurley (2000)
Acadian Folk Song - Greg Amirault (Effendi Records 1999)
Sky Beneath My Feet (L'institute Sexoacoustical 2003)

Set List

Original Compositions & Arrangements

Aqua Land
Now that I own a TV
Big Tiny
Cabeza de Vaca
Pick me up truck
Hospital Loop
Step into my office

Jazz standards that I like to play:

Where or when
Lullaby of the leaves
How am I to know
On a misty night
Soon its gonna rain
Chega de Saudade
I'll wait for you
Quitely there
I'll be seing you
Sunday in New York
How deep is the ocean
Come rain or come shine
East of the sun
Memories of you
Green Chimneys
Soul Eyes
Bye ya
Limehouse blues
St. James Infirmary
I didn't know what time it was
Moon and Sand
Time of the Baracudas
Get out of town
In my solitude