Mark Miller is Chair of the Music Program at Naropa University, the first Buddhist inspired institution of higher learning accredited in the United States. A Zen practitioner since 1993, his musical interests lie at the intersection of improvisation and mindfulness—playing everything from New Age to Avant-Garde Jazz. He has performed and recorded with a wide variety of improvising artists including legendary jazz pianist Art Lande, Paul McCandless, David Darling, Tuck and Patti, Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog, and Butoh artist Katsura Kan. He has contributed to numerous recordings both as a leader and sideman including the album Illumination (with pianist Peter Kater), nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013. Specializing in flute and saxophone, Mark is also a longtime student of the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute associated with Zen Buddhism. Mark Miller holds an M.F.A. degree in jazz performance from California Institute of the Arts.
April 2nd, 2018 | 28 mins 56 secs
improvisation, jass, john coltrane, meditation, miles davis, music, sonny rollins
Improvisation is a wonderful contemplative practice–a mindfulness practice–a discipline that has to do with paying attention in a very precise way to what's going on in the present moment. It's about showing up–being open to whatever is happening musically, to whatever my colleagues are playing, or to the environment of the room–the acoustics, the audience, that sort of thing–and really drawing inspiration from that. Paying attention to all of that requires one hundred percent concentration. Music happens so quickly, so naturally, your intellectual mind really can't keep up with it. The brain can't be analyzing and explaining and interpreting why you're playing, you just have to play. To me, that means you show up and play who you are.