by Renae Battaglia - Gulf Coast Arts Review 

 New Orleans Music 

You may not know who Charlie Miller is, but you have probably heard his music. This 
accomplished musician has been playing music for over fifty years with people like 
B.B. King, Jimmy Witherspoon, and Dr. John. Last year he released his first CD entitled 
Peace Horn which features Miller playing a very soulful solo trumpet. The music is clean 
and because Miller plays solo, there is nothing that gets in the way of the cry of his horn. 
The music from the CD has been used on a 1998 episode of Homicide and in an 
independent film, Lucinda, which is pretty good exposure when you consider that Miller 
didn't do any national marketing. 

A very versatile musician, Miller plays several instruments. "Trumpet is my basic instrument," 
states Miller, "But I've been doing a lot of piano. One time I had a job for about a year on 
tuba with a piano player. But trumpet is what that I feel I have the most ability on." 

"When I moved to New York, I went from one music scene to the other. I'd spend about
five to seven years in each one. I'm constantly learning, so I went from one thing
to another. I did Broadway shows. Then I moved to the East Village and played
loft sessions with the jazz players there.  Then I worked with the Latin bands. Then
Dr. John moved to N.Y., I worked with him. I loved music from the time I was a child,
so I've taken the time to develop my interest and ability and learned lots of styles of music,
I've worked for some of the best Latin bands, which have now become legendary, during
the 70's in New York. And, I've worked with some of the best jazz musicians."

Miller worked with the New York Ballet Theater Orchestra at Lincoln Center and in 
Broadway shows like A Chorus Line and Annie Get Your Gun with the legendary
Ethel Merman. He also played with Thelonious Monk's band at Carnegie Hall, the
Saturday Night Live Band, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 

Miller attributes his success to his devotion and hard work. "I've just worked really hard," 
he says, "I practice for  hours. I don't call on people looking for jobs, I just work 
really hard at my music and try to make myslf as good as possible at what I do." 

"A lot of guys have families, or they just get discouraged," continues Miller, "or they get into 
drugs or something, but for some reason or other they form a pattern of not working hard. 
Often young guys now think they can become a star real easy. They have a certain look 
and a certain type of presentation and they come out with an instrument and they'll (the 
music industry) makes them a star. Unfortunately the musicians are the ones that are losing 
out because they don't get to realize what they don't know. They just become a star and 
they think they know stuff. They become millionaires and the focus goes on that. Then 
they get big and their life gets empty and they get into drugs and drinking and get angry. 

"The music industry wants to make money. So they'll find a young guy who's hardly 
graduated from grammar school and give the kid the impression that it's bad for him to 
train himself; that he'll loose his soul if he trains himself.  So the kids come up believing 
that; there's no way for them to learn what they should learn because they're trapped 
immediately by this industry. 

"Some of the kids are so small they can hardly hold a horn and they're being told not to 
learn to play it well, that they've arrived.   Actually, I've lost at least one friendship 
for saying this because it flies in the face of the music business, but I have to say it 
because these kids lives get ruined. They don't learn to take pride in what they do. 
The biggest valure for me in being a musician is I love what I do and take pride in it 
and I want to be very excellent at everything I do in music. People who miss out 
on that joy are missing out on the biggest joy of music.  These young people are being 
deprived of their right as a musician to learn to play evey style of music possible. 
I'm not saying that the kids are at fault, but the people who are in the business are in it 
to make money, so they use hese kids and turn them into stars. 

"I haven't said this in an interview before, but somebody needs to say something like this. 
You lose a lot of friends by saying this, but if I lose a friend or two by saying this, okay, 
well then maybe it was the type of friend I should have lost." 

Miller plans to make another CD soon, although it probably won't be anything like 
Peace Horn. 

"I've taken the time to look and listen to a lot of music. Because of that I have a lot 
of viewpoints. I can make a lot of unusual records and that's what I intend to do. 
My dream is to be an inspiration to people if I can." 

"Almost everybody is making records that sound like other records. If they make a Rhythm 
and Blues record, they get a drummer, guitar player, keyboard, and they sing. If they got 
more money, they add horns. And they know exactly what the horns will be, what they'll 
sound like. It's copies of stuff we did in the 50's and 60's. That's a type of record, and 
record companies love this - to have a type of record so they can put it in a type of bin, 
and they already have the type of marketing so the type of audience will go buy that type 
of record. It's all predictable. It's all been done fifty years ago. Music is not 
doing what was done fifty years ago, it's making music. At this point in my life, 
at the age I'm at, I realize it's important for me to make music and not make predictable 
records. Records that people know what they are before they buy them. I need to utilize 
what God has given me which is a gift and ability to persevere so that I can make unusual 
records, and I can make unusual records that people like. I think that's what musicains do 
- they bring music into the world." 

New Orleans Music
Unique - Click On CD's to Hear 'Em !

Listen To (or order) "PeaceHorn" or "Fonk Horn" CD

New Orleans Music

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