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Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

Latin Improvisation Aesthetics in New York: SEM Panel Presentation

Sue’s panel at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual conference in Texas Austin takes place on 3 December at 4pm. Also on the panel are renowned scholars of Latin American music Professor David Garcia (University of North Carolina) and Dr Ben Lapidus (CUNY).
Panel Abstract: ‘Clave feel’ is often cited as one of the main elements of Afro-Cuban/salsa improvisation yet very little to date has been done to demonstrate this concept analytically. Building on research in this area by Christopher Washburne, Peter Manuel, David Garcia, Robin Moore, Lise Waxer, and Robert Farris Thompson, scholars of Latin improvisation consider how clave remains a point of tradition, pride, and practice for many performers of Afrocuban music in New York City. Brass, woodwind and piano clave-based improvisation styles are examined to demonstrate how clave feel can define both the artistry and identity of performers. Ethnographic research informs the musical analyses of solo improvisations from both recordings and live performances to demonstrate how clave sensibility permeates the artistic work of New York-based Latin soloists.

New Publication for 2015: Chapter on Improvisation in Higher Education

“This book treats with freshness and vitality issues that are crucial for educators in higher education and beyond. The international and multi-disciplinary group of scholars – anthropologists, psychologists, musicians, artists and art educators – engage us in deeply educational issues and experiences…Enthusiastically recommended!” – Liora Bresler, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, University of Illinois, USA

New Review of Cuban Flute Style by John Robert Brown in Jazz Journal

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.

BfE and AAWM Conference in London on 1-4 July

My paper is on 2 July:

Title: Analyzing Clave feel within melodic-rhythmic ‘mambo’ improvisation

Abstract:

‘Clave feel’ is often cited as one of the main elements of Cuban and salsa improvisation yet very little to date has been done to demonstrate this concept analytically whether using notation- or purely text-based analysis. The mambo-style solos of flautist José Fajardo are analysed here in order to demonstrate this clave concept using annotated transcriptions of recorded solos to demonstrate the relationship between the two-bar timeline of clave and melodic-rhythmic improvisation characteristic of Cuban and Latin popular styles.

Review of Cuban Flute Style by Bill McBirnie

Let me begin by saying that Sue Miller’s Cuban Flute Style is an extraordinarily comprehensive oeuvre, with respect to both the history and the technique of charanga flute playing. In addition, her book is realized with a broad as well as a thoughtful understanding of the entire tradition on which this style of music is based.

OUT NOW Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation

My book Cuban Flute Style: Interpretation and Improvisation is now available from all good book stores!

Invited Talks on Cuban Music in London and Cambridge this November

I’m giving talks on Cuban music in London (2nd) and Cambridge (27th) this November – both are free and open to the public. The first on clave and improvisation is for LAMS (Latin American Music Seminars) at Senate House, London and the second is on the role of influence in the development of the Cuban flute style is at the University of Cambridge music department, West Road.

Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World

I have two entries on Cuban son and guajira in this excellent new book edited by David Horn. You can order a copy from Amazon and it will be out January 2014

‘Globalized Incuriosity’ on the UK Latin and World Music Scenes

Perceptions of authenticity in the performance of Cuban popular music in the United Kingdom: ‘Globalized incuriosity’ in the promotion and reception of uK-based Charanga del Norte’s music since 1998

Drawing on my own experiences both as a performer and researcher of Cuban music, this article challenges the essentialism inherent in much promotion of ‘Latin’ music in the United Kingdom today, illustrating how issues of ethnicity and gender affect perceptions of authenticity by means of a case study of Charanga del Norte, a UK-grown Cuban music dance band, over the last fifteen years.

Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba

Review of Robin Moore’s book Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba in Cultural Politics Journal Volume 03 Issue 02 July 2007, p265 -268: BOOK REVIEW Cultural Policy and Music Making in Revolutionary Cuba Sue Miller Music and Revolution: Cultural Change in Socialist Cuba, by Robin D. Moore, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of [...]