NYC-based drummer Allison Miller defies all boundaries bringing her individual sound to diverse types of music while preserving their stylistic authenticity. Allison goes from playing with legendary songwriting vocalists Ani DiFranco, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Merchant, to touring with avant- garde saxophonist Marty Ehrlich and legendary organist Doctor Lonnie Smith. She approaches each of these musical situations with her own stylistic identity and a creative, fresh and energetic approach. Allison was chosen as “Rising Star Drummer” in Downbeat’s 53rd Annual Critics Poll.
Raised in the Washington D.C. area, Miller began playing the drums at the age of ten, studying with Walter Salb, and was soon thereafter featured in Downbeat magazine's “Up and Coming” section in 1991. Five years later, after graduating from West Virginia University she moved to New York City to study with Michael Carvin and Lenny White and pursue what has became a fruitful career as a freelance drummer, composer, producer, and teacher. Miller’s talents have landed her gigs in the mainstream music world, with artists like Natalie Merchant, Ani DiFranco, and most recently, singer Brandi Carlile; and her jazz skills have been embraced by everyone from avant-garde saxophonist Marty Ehrlich to organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, with a wide range of leaders in between, including Steven Bernstein, Kenny Barron, Erik Friedlander, Mark Helias, Ray Drummond, Peter Bernstein, Sheila Jordan, George Garzone, Mike Stern, Rachel Z, Kevin Mahogany, Bruce Barth, Mark Soskin, and Harvie S.
Allison is currently celebrating the release of her second solo leader album, BOOM TIC BOOM (Foxhaven Records, March 2010). This album pays homage to and is inspired by all of the important women in Millers life. The album features pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman, and bassist Todd Sickafoose. Together, they musically collaborate, creatively expounding on compositions written primarily by Miller and Melford.
She also leads or co-leads several other bands, including EMMA, with singer/songwriter Erin McKeown; TILT, with pianist Taylor Eigsti and bassist Jon Evans; and Agrazing Maze, with trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, pianist Enrique Haneine, and bassist Carlo DeRosa. Miller has also been recognized by the Showtime network, which featured her music in the series The L Word, and by the US State Department when she was chosen to tour East Africa, Eurasia and Southeast Asia as a Jazz Ambassador.
Allison also produced the critically acclaimed children's album. Ask the Planet (2009). Organized by the Biomimicry Institute, Ask the Planet connects environmentalism with song, while educating children about respecting the environment and learning from nature's plan.
In 2008 Allison founded the “Walter Salb Memorial Musical Scholarship Foundation” in honor of her late teacher and mentor. The foundation annually provides a promising young musician a monetary award directed toward furthering their studies in music. She also holds an adjunct teaching position at Kutztown University and gives lessons and master classes at additional universities and high schools throughout the United States - including NYU, UMASS Amherst, University of Alaska, Elon University, University of Southern Florida, West Virginia University, Berkeley Jazz School, University of the Pacific, UC Berkeley and the University of Maryland. She has been featured in DRUM magazine, Downbeat, Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Yamaha All Access 360, TomTom Magazine, Traps, All About Jazz NY, and Female Musician magazine.
Allison endorses Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, and LP Percussion.