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Allison Miller and Carmen Staaf Make First Album as Co-Leaders

The drummer and pianist discuss the new science of sharing roles

Carmen Staaf and Allison Miller
Carmen Staaf (left) and Allison Miller (photo: Chris Drukker)

Allison Miller and Carmen Staaf met serendipitously. Miller, drummer and leader of the quartet Boom Tic Boom, had booked her band at the 2014 Reykjavik Jazz Festival but then discovered that its pianist, Myra Melford, couldn’t make it. “I called Todd Sickafoose, the bassist in the band, and said, ‘Hey, do you know anybody who’s exciting you right now on piano?’” Miller recalls. “He said, ‘Oh, I was just at a Monk Institute performance in L.A., and this young pianist was by far the most amazing thing happening onstage.’”

“She sent me a message, saying ‘Hey, I have this gig in Iceland and I need a piano player. Do you want to do it?’” Staaf says. “I had been a fan of her music, and I said, ‘Yeah, I totally want to do that!’”

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