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Lee Mergner Remembers Jim Miller

JazzTimes contributing editor pays tribute to Philadelphia-based jazz drummer and record label owner (6/13/53 – 2/25/19)

Drummer Jim Miller
Drummer Jim Miller

Have you ever known someone for so long that you can’t remember when or where or how or even why you first met? Sometimes we have those electric first encounters, but just as often we meet casually, accidentally, circumstantially, and over time we become close from shared values and experiences. That’s how it was for me and the Philadelphia-based drummer, record label owner, and community activist Jim Miller.

I’ve dug through my addled memory and what I came up with is me coming out to see his band Reverie, a jazz fusion band, sometime in 1978. They were playing in a little bar at 24th and Lombard. That must be the when and where. But the why and how? It should matter but it doesn’t. Somehow Jim, from the drum seat, seemed to be the leader and he convinced me that I could help the band. Or maybe I convinced him. See how foggy this all is?

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