Dan Miller a jazz/lead trumpeter, Yamaha Recording Artist and clinician, who has played in big bands with Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, and many more, was born in Waukegan, Illinois on May 31,1969 to John and Virginia Miller. He began playing the trumpet in grade school with the encouragement of his father (his brother David played the trombone). Growing up, he would listen to records with his father (including Miles, Dizzy, Chet, Maynard, Basie and Sinatra) which helped him form the idea of what jazz trumpet should sound like.
Dan relates, Chicago in the 1970's and 1980's had an incredibly vibrant jazz scene. There was Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase that had Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Max Roach, Horace Silver, Woody Shaw, Joe Henderson, Phil Woods with Tom Harrell, The Jazztet, The Timeless All Stars with Bobby Hutcheson, Curtis Fuller and Harold Land, Ira Sullivan and Red Rodney, Dexter and Johnny Griffin, etc. When a artist was working as a single they would often be backed by the classic Delmark rhythm section of Jodie Christian, Donald Garrett and Wilbur Campbell. There was Rick's Cafe American that had all of the Norman Granz acts like Dizzy, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Eldridge, Zoot Sims, etc. Mr.Ricky's had all of the organ greats like Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff. Von Freeman ran the Tuesday night session at the New Apartment Lounge down on 77th Street. Brad Goode started playing with Lin Halliday everywhere, then Eric Alexander moved to town. Bob Koester owned the Jazz Record Mart (the best jazz record store in the world) and used LP's were cheap. Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman or Maynard's Band was always coming to town. There was always something swinging happening and fortunately for my brother and I, my dad took us to hear music all the time.