Out drummer Allison Miller is getting some mainstream attention this week. The composer/musician who many of us probably first heard of while she was touring with Ani DiFranco, is featured in a Los Angeles Times article as one of three prominent drummers who are “directing jazz’s evolution.”
To her gay fans, 36-year-old Miller is known as the drummer for DiFranco, Brandi Carlile and Erin McKeown (with whom she also performs as the band Emma). But the hardcore jazz fans are more impressed with her regular work with famed jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, trumpet player Steven Bernstein and multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich as well as her quartet Boom Tic Boom
Miller told the Times:
Leading the band is creating a palette to get that music out there. It’s funny, I write at the piano and the last thing I think about is the drum part. I’d write the music, find the right players, get on the bandstand and go, “Oh my God, what do I do now?” This is the perfect band. I love the way each player takes my simple melodies and brings them to life.
The article says that in jazz, “this is the era of the drummer,” and it not only highlights Miller’s accomplishments, but it also doesn’t shy away from the fact that she’s gay — which comes across not by them saying it, but by the use of a large photo of her at the drums and note that her music had been “featured prominently on The L Word.”
Photo by Joanne Wiesner for the LA Times
Sure, not every female musician with short, spiky hair, tattoos and a men’s-style vest is gay. Wait. Sure, we’re not totally certain that every female musician with short, spiky hair, tattoos and a men’s-style vest is gay — but we’d totally assume. And if we assume, then pretty much everyone else besides maybe our grandpa who still likes to call all our friends our “girlfriends” would assume.
So, thank you Los Angeles Times for the accidental lesbian visibility this week.