Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

New Review of Cuban Flute Style by John Robert Brown in Jazz JournalJuly 10th, 2014


Cuban Flute Style

Sue Miller

Scarecrow Press, Inc. /Rowman and Littlefield, Plymouth.

ISBN 978-0-8108-8441-0

Cloth, 355 pp., £44.95

My new book

An edited version of this review appeared in Jazz Journal, July 2014.  A pre-print version is also available on John Robert Brown’s site by kind permission of the journal publishers  and can be viewed via the link below

pre-print review available on the reviewer’s website

Here are some brief extracts:

After completing a postgraduate jazz course at Leeds College of Music during the late 1990s, flautist Sue Miller became a regular visitor to the Casa Latina nightclub in Leeds. Miller loved the Cuban music she heard at Casa Latina, both recorded and live, so much so that she attended Latin-American dance classes. Thus began what Miller describes as her ‘obsession’ with all things charanga.

. . .

In 1998, Cuban musicians at the Casa Latina told Miller of an annual charanga festival held near Santiago de Cuba. The young English flautist did no more than set off for Cuba, making an incident-filled and sometimes perilous journey that ended in the suburb of Santos Suarez, at the house of one of the most famous charanga flute improvisers, Richard Egües. If merely told alone, that part of Miller’s tale would make a fascinating broadcast documentary.

So, not surprisingly, the musician Richard Egües was genuinely intrigued by this enterprising Englishwoman who had set up her own charanga orquesta in England. Immediately, Egües agreed to teach her. Cuban Flute Style is thus a contextualised, analytical study, arising from a combination of Miller’s lessons from Egües, her research in Havana and New York, her subsequent experiences as a charanga bandleader, and the completion of a Leeds University PhD undertaken to study the processes involved in learning the charanga style of improvisation.