The Mac Wire Interview: Project Grand Slam At Cafe Wha?

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millergreenIt’s been quite a year from Robert Miller’s Project Grand Slam. We followed the release of their album The Queen’s Carnival (CEN), and all the success they’ve enjoyed. And, next week Miller is hosting a charity-event at the famous Café Wha? in Greenwich Village here in NYC. We managed to speak to Miller during his preparations for the event:

Q: Tell us about next week’s event:

A: We’re giving a free concert next Thursday, Dec. 8th, at 6:30pm, at the historic Café Wha? in Greenwich Village, the place where Dylan and Hendrix first played. I wanted to do a holiday benefit concert as a way of giving back, in appreciation for all the good things that have happened to PGS this past year.  

We started our current run the day before Thanksgiving 2015 when we opened for Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) at the Gramercy Theater. During 2016 we performed several dozen times at performing arts centers in NJ, PA and CT, and at various clubs throughout the Tri-state area, including providing support for Boney James (twice) and for Yes.

Q: Tell us about the reception to your current album:

A: In August we released our newest CD, The Queen’s Carnival, which I’m pleased to say has received incredible reviews. Our official and live videos of songs from the album have been viewed over 1 million times worldwide. Along the way we’ve developed a dedicated international fan base in a number of Spanish speaking countries in large part due to the Caribbean-fiesta infused title tune from the album. I’m also very pleased to say that the CD currently is under consideration for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Jazz Instrumental Album.  

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Q: Tell us about CityMeals:

A: Citymeals is a charity that I’ve long supported. I’ve sent out their holiday greeting cards for over 25 years, which includes a voucher telling the recipient that a donation has been made on their behalf to feed the homebound elderly in NYC. So it was a natural to make Citymeals the beneficiary of the concert.

I also wanted to make it a free concert in order to encourage the biggest turnout. Café Wha? allowed us to do this. And to spice it up even more we decided to give all attendees a free drink and a free copy of “The Queen’s Carnival”. How could anyone refuse?

We’re hoping for a big crowd at the concert, and that they will open up their pocketbooks and make a donation to Citymeals in lieu of an admission charge. We will also be auctioning off a number of very neat items – boxed CD sets, gold records and the like – with the proceeds going to the charity.

Q: How does it feel to have one of the best-selling jazz albums of the year for 2016?

ProjectGrandSlam_Carnival_Cover - CopyA: The support that we’ve received for The Queen’s Carnival from all quarters – reviewers, fans, purchasers – has been awesome and humbling at the same time. It’s extremely rewarding to an artist when the fruit of their creative endeavors is appreciated. It makes up for all the many unpleasantries that one has to endure along the way!

Q: What are your upcoming shows? Plans for 2017? Europe?

A: The Café Wha? benefit will be our last show in 2016. I’m taking off the rest of December to recharge my batteries and to work on some new compositions. My music team is in the process of lining up our performance schedule for next year.  We have January dates scheduled at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar (1/8) and at the Groove (1/21), and a May date at the Highland Lakes Concert Series (5/13). We’ll start filling in more dates very soon I’m sure.

I would love to take PGS to Europe, South America and other places. We’ve shown that our music works with every audience – from jazz to rock, from Baby Boomers to Millenials.  I’m sure it will work outside the U. S. too. 

 

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