In the 1940s, young Lloyd Miller and Spencer Dryden of Jefferson Airplane founded the Smog City Syncopaters in Glendale California, Miller had made Spence his first drum set from old barrels and inner tubes. In 1957 Miller left L.A. where he had been playing at the Red Feather, the Digger, the Purple Onion and once at the International Flower Show to travel through the Far East playing at Golden Gate in Tokyo then Europe to become a figure in the international jazz scene. He played at the Domicile du Jazz in Frankfurt with Peter Trunk, Albert Mangelsdorff and Dusko Goykovich; in Mainz with Don Ellis, Eddie Harris and Maffi Falay; in Geneva at the Cave du Hot Club with Daniel Humair; in Stockholm at Nalen, Grönalund and the folkparks with Benny Bailey, Joe Harris, Lennart Jansson, Lars Färnlöf and Bernt Rosengren; in Copenhagen at Vingaarden with Oscar Pettiford; in Belgium at the Rose Noire and Blue Note with Freddy Deronde, Jacques Pelzer, Philip Catherine and Benoit Quersin; at Comblain-la-Tours jazz festival on an Italian record label and Bilzen jazz festival with Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and Stuff Smith; then in Paris sitting in for Bud Powell at the Blue Note with Kenny Clark; at Salle Pleyel, Salle Wagram, Théatre de l'Etoile, l'Ecole Normale de Musique, Théatre du Vieux-Colombier, Mars Club, Club Saint Germain, Chat qui Pêche, Caméléon with Nat Adderly, at Trois Mailletz, Caveau de la Huchette, at Festival de Coulombs and in Lille, Rouen, Cherbourg, Nancy and Bar-le-Duc partly on tour for the ORTF as soloist with Jef Gilson; in Cervia Italy at La Pineta with Tony Scott; in Tehran 3 years on his prime time NIRTV show, at the Intercontinental, Sheraton and Tehran Hilton hotels; in Beirut and Kabul at the Intercontinental Hotel; in Salt Lake City jamming with Wynton Marsalis and Gatemouth Brown and at Telluride Jazz Festival with Richie Cole.
Miller, who was booked at the original Woodstock Festival and Philadelphia Folk Festival, won arranger / composer awards three consecutive years at Intercollegiate Jazz Festivals in the 60s. He was national winner of the Sounds of Young America competition and has won several Utah Composers Guild awards in the 90s. Miller’s premiers and commissions include a film score and jazz scores premiered by Utah Symphony, Colorado Springs Symphony, Salt Lake Symphony and the Tehran NIRT Chamber Orchestra. In Utah, Miller was music consultant for KUED in the late 60s, a DJ at KUER in 1977 and KRCL in 1978. He has taught jazz and ethnic music off and on since 1967 at U of U and since 1995 at BYU. His PhD dissertation was published by Curzon as Music and Song in Persia and he plays over 100 instruments from 13 musical traditions. He studied several languages at University of Geneva and in Paris at Ecole Nationale des langues Orientales Vivantes and the Sorbonne Hautes Etudes. Miller has published 20 books and hundreds of print media articles for several notable newspapers and magazines in various countries. Thus, he spent 6 years as a prominent jazzman in Europe inform 1958-1963 and, due to a Fulbright scholarship, 7 years in Iran where he had a weekly prime-time TV jazz show with many trips to Afghanistan, Turkey and other nearby countries.
In a special to the May 25, 1969 New York Times by world-renowned jazz critic and author John S. Wilson described Miller’s performance at the Saint Louis finals as follows.
“Most of the small groups at this festival and Notre Dame followed the routine patterns of most contemporary small groups. One startling exception was a provocative mixture of musical styles and instruments associated with the Middle East, with Europe and with the United States by Lloyd Miller who led a quartet from the University of Utah. Mr. Miller, who lived in the Middle East for six years, surrounded himself with an exotic group of instruments - - a santur, or dulcimer (a triangular string instrument struck with mallets) a dilruba (which looked like a fence post and was played with a bow), an oud (a mandolinlike instrument played with a quill) and a tabla (two small drums). He also played clarinet and piano and sang in Persian, English, French and pure bop scat. Accompanied by piano, string bass and drums, Mr. Miller moved with fascinating facility through two original compositions and his own arrangement of “Autumn Leaves.” In each selection, there was a constant shifting from East to West that heightened the effectiveness of both elements. A jazz clarinet solo suddenly turned Turkish. The keening wail of Arabo-Turkish vocalizing, accompanied by an oud, gave way to jazz scat singing while the oud played on. A distinctly Eastern chant over the beat of a tabla evolved very logically into a strong, shouted blues. Mr. Miller showed that his unique approach to mixed music was not limited to crossing the East and the West because he applied the same methods to “Autumn Leaves,” playing the piano, singing in French and in be-bop, and projecting the same sense of exciting discovery that came from his more exotic material. But, despite his ingenuity, versatility and skill, Mr. Miller was not chosen among the winners.”
The many other news paper reviews and articles would be too many to include, but there is a plethora of information about Dr. Lloyd Miller easily available on the internet.