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NEW DATE/VENUE, AS ROBERT MILLER'S ACCLAIMED JAZZ/ROCK AMALGAM PROJECT GRAND SLAM CONFIRMS FREE HOLIDAY BENEFIT FOR CITYMEALS ON WHEELS, 12/8 AT LEGENDARY CAFE WHA IN NYC -
(Published: November 21, 2016)



For Immediate Release                                                                                          
November 18, 2016
 

Free Show, Free Drink, Free CD:
Holiday Benefit on 12/8 at Legendary Café Wha? in NYC will Support Citymeals on Wheels, as Acclaimed Jazz / Rock Amalgam, Robert Miller's Project Grand Slam, Earns Over One Million Video Views and Celebrates Album Release



The brainchild of bassist/composer Robert Miller, Project Grand Slam is an amalgam of jazz and rock that has earned an impressive one million video views, while defying genres, languages and geographic boundaries. PGS has confirmed a 12/8 Free Concert at the legendary Café Wha? in New York City. Attendees will receive a free drink and a free CD as well, of the band's fourth studio album -- their bold post-fusion record -- 'The Queen's Carnival'. A series of new interviews and CD reviews follow, and upcoming coverage includes DownBeat, JazzWeekly and more.

All details for the special 12/8 event, a benefit for Citymeals on Wheels, are here:

Holiday Concert Update:
Our Holiday Concert for the benefit of Citymeals on Wheels has been rescheduled from Nov. 21st at the Iridium to Dec. 8th at the Cafe Wha? at 6:30pm.
The event will now be a FREE CONCERT! Plus, everyone will get one FREE DRINK and a FREE CD of "The Queen's Carnival", our new album! In lieu of an admission charge we request that you make a donation to the charity.
The world famous Cafe Wha?, located at 115 Macdougal St. in Greenwich Village, is where Bob Dylan played and where Jimi Hendrix got his start.
There will also be an auction with some very cool items - boxed CD sets, gold records, etc. - with the proceeds going to Citymeals.
Citymeals On Wheels provides hot meals to the homebound elderly in NYC. The event is supported by BMI, the music rights organization.
RSVPs are appreciated to PGS@projectgrandslam.com
We look forward to seeing you! As always, we appreciate your support!
http://cafewha.com/event....


Project Grand Slam has cultivated a fervent, worldwide fan base, particularly among Spanish-speaking audiences in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. This surge in international fans has been fueled by the Latin/Caribbean-infused title track from 'The Queen's Carnival' (available now via CEN/RED Distribution, a division of Sony Music). No Depression praised it as "a uniquely affecting work...impossibly memorable!" With influences as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Afro-Cuban rhythms and Celtic folk, Miller has delivered a jazz / rock sound like no other. In fact, one of Miller's musical signatures is to take classic rock songs such as Jimi Hendrix's 'Fire' and The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me', and to completely reimagine them. See videos for both tracks, below these new interview features.

Eponymous Review - Interview feature
Project Grand Slam's Robert Miller chats music, muses and Citymeals
11/16/2016 By Laurie Fanelli
http://www.eponymousrevie...

Project Grand Slam is one of those wonderfully undefinable bands. The type of group that effortlessly merges genres to create fun, interesting arrangements of classic tunes and original compositions. Besides being talented musicians, they are also wonderful people who are using the platform of a live concert - taking place at Café Wha? on Dec. 8 - to raise money for the New York non-profit, Citymeals On Wheels.
EpRe got a chance to pick the brain of Project Grand Slam's composer/leader/bassist, Robert Miller, about his biggest influences, favorite collaborations and what fans can expect from the Dec. 8 show.
Laurie Fanelli: Congratulations on Project Grand Slam ‘s The Queen's Carnival. When you recorded the album, did you ever imagine that it would be such a crossover success?
Robert Miller: Thank you! I set out to write and record an album that was a true combination of my two musical loves - rock and jazz. I grew up playing rock and roll and only discovered jazz when I was about 19. With this album I was hoping to combine the power and groove of rock with the improvisation of jazz. I'm pleased to say that our music - both on record and live - has worked really well with every audience that we've played before - from hard rock to smooth jazz, from Millennials to Boomers. So maybe we're doing something right.
LF: The title track is an intriguing blend of genres. What goes into creating your unique sound?
RM: I always loved artists and recordings that had great diversity. It started for me with the Beatles. An album like The White Album is a masterpiece of different styles. So when I wrote the tunes for The Queen's Carnival I consciously tried to vary the songs. I didn't have a checklist of styles, they all just emerged as I was writing.
The creative process is so mysterious to me. I never set out to write a particular song. I simply noodle around and if I'm lucky something just comes to me. If I like it I do a quick little iPhone recording just to preserve it. Then I come back to it later on and see if it still grabs me. If it does I try and finish it off.
When I present a new song to the band I only give them a lead sheet with the melody, basic chords and structure. I rarely tell them what to play. I would much rather see what they come up with. Sometimes it totally surprises me!
For example, with "New Folk Song," when we started playing it at rehearsal my drummer came up with a figure on the snare drum that sounded almost like a march. But it totally worked. In fact, it gave the song a kind of Celtic feel that I had not anticipated. I loved it and we kept it. And my sax player plays with all these pedals and effects, which I love. It gives him such a distinct sound. I told him to use all the effects and I went so far to say (a bit tongue in cheek) that I would be upset if anyone listening to the record knew that he was playing the sax.
When I wrote the title tune "The Queen's Carnival," I was channeling my father, who played trumpet and loved Latin music. He only tuned in to the Spanish stations on the radio. So Latin music was infused into my soul from early on. And it doesn't hurt that all the guys in my band are Latin. I call them my International Cartel.
LF: I love your cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me." What struck you about the original tune?
RM: Like I said, I was a rock and roller initially. I grew up during the British Invasion era of pop music. I loved all the British bands - Beatles, Stones, The Who, etc. - and their U.S. counterparts.
On our prior album, Made In New York, I took a song by Jimi Hendrix that I've always loved called "Fire," and decided to reimagine it. People like covers because the songs are familiar. But I personally don't like covers where the song sounds just like the original. What's the point of that? So I set out to take the Hendrix tune and make it my own - not to show him up (I couldn't do that anyway) but as a kind of tribute. I wanted to keep enough of the original so that people could recognize it, but I wanted to change it around to make it mine and to update it. I used a female singer on the track just to flip the boy/girl thing around - a terrific singer named Kat Robichaud. I think the result was fantastic. And the reviews were spectacular.
So when I was preparing for The Queen's Carnival, I decided to continue the idea of taking a classic rock song and reimagining it. I always loved The Kinks and "You Really Got Me" was one of their biggest, earliest hits. I always considered it a forerunner to grunge, with that amazing guitar riff and that nasty attitude.
The first time we played my initial vision of it at rehearsal, though, it was awful! It sounded like Sade singing The Kinks at a Bar Mitzvah! Ugh! Totally bland. I knew that I had to toughen it up. So I went back, fiddled with it, and then presented it again to the band with a newer, tougher, edgier concept. And it just worked. Then, having a great singer like Lucy Woodward record it with us again flipped the boy/girl thing around, and it came out wonderful. To then get a lovely endorsement of our version of the song from the great Dave Davies - guitarist and co-founder of The Kinks - was truly icing on the cake. When we play "Fire" and "You Really Got Me" live they get an amazing response!
LF: Who are some of your other musical influences?
RM: Well, musically I came of age so to speak in the jazz fusion era of the 1970s. I adored bands like Weather Report, Chick Corea's Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Miles Davis' and Gary Burton's bands at that time. I'm still not sure why fusion got a bad rap back then because to me it was inspiring and uplifting.
The difference may be that those guys were jazz guys grafting rock into their music, while I'm a rock guy at heart bringing jazz into my music. And sometimes in life what's old becomes new and is considered differently in a different era. I don't know anyone else that's doing exactly what I'm doing (maybe I'm nuts), so we have a fresh sound. We're the new kids on the block now.
LF: Just by listening to the recordings of Project Grand Slam, it's obvious that you guys are a live band. How does your music evolve in front of an audience?
RM: Yes, the album was basically recorded live in the studio (the old fashioned way), and playing live is what I enjoy the most. When we resonate with an audience - particularly one that hasn't heard us before like when we opened for artists like Boney James and Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) - it's so satisfying and thrilling.
And because we're not a pop band the music comes out different every time. It's like a living organism. We respond to the audience, the room, and the makeup of the band for that performance. Each time we play with a different combination of players the songs come out differently. I love that variety. And I try to tailor our presentation to the audience. So for example when we opened for Scott Weiland, or when we opened recently for The Reign Of Kindo - both hard rock oriented and so was their crowd - I told the band to rock out. And rock out we did!
LF: Can you tell me a little bit about the musicians that make up Project Grand Slam and what everyone brings to the table?
RM: I use a kind of rotating cast of musicians in the band, both because they're in demand and sometimes have conflicts, and also to vary the sound. But they're all great, young, music school graduates. They bring a level of professionalism, experimentation, passion and energy to the music that is just wonderful. I stand up there as the "mature adult" and sort of direct them while I'm playing with them and grooving to the music. It's a great experience for me, and I think the audiences appreciate their youthful exuberance .
LF: What can fans expect from your Dec. 8 performance at Cafe Wha?
RM: The Dec. 8th show is special. We're doing this performance as a benefit for Citymeals on Wheels, a fabulous charity that feeds the homebound elderly in NYC. I've supported this charity for years and sent out their holiday cards.
We moved the event to the Café Wha? so that we could do it as a free event. Most of the other venues in town wanted us to charge $25 or so as an admission fee. I wanted the event to be free so that more people would come and hopefully donate more money to Citymeals. We're doing an auction as part of the event - some neat boxed CD sets, gold records and the like - with all the proceeds going to the charity. Everyone who attends will also get a free drink and a free copy of The Queen's Carnival. Not too bad, huh?
So we're hoping for a big crowd and to raise a lot of money for Citymeals. The show starts at 6:30 p.m.
LF: Is there anything else you'd like to share with EpRe readers?
RM: We would love to have your readers sign up for our monthly newsletter. Just go to our web site, www.projectgrandslam.com , to do so. Our site has music, videos, photos, reviews, calendar, etc. Going there is like a mini-vacation.
And we're looking to find our Super Fans, people who really love our music and the band. We've got a neat package of goodies for those folks that are listed on our web site. And these days you have to be active on social media, so people can access us on Facebook and on Twitter .
****
Click here to reserve your spot at the free Project Grand Slam show benefiting Citymeals on Dec. 8 and head over to ProjectGrandSlam.com to stay up-to-date with the latest news coming from the band.

VENTS Magazine -
Interview Feature
http://ventsmagazine.com/...
11/2/2016, by RJ Frometa


Can you tell us more about your latest single "The Queen's Carnival"?
"The Queen's Carnival" is a fun, upbeat, Latin/Caribbean fiesta. A feel good song. My wife always encourages me to write upbeat, fun songs that people can groove to. Every time we play it live the place goes wild - dancing in the aisles. So I knew that this one should be the focal point of the album.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
My father played the trumpet and was a big lover of Latin music. Whenever we were together in the car for example he would have one of the NYC Latin stations on the radio. And that music - particularly the rhythms - just got into my soul. And the guys in my band are all Latin. I call them my International Cartel. So when I was composing the songs for the new album this all came together one evening. "The Queen's Carnival" came to me in a rush - the rhythm, melody and feel. I literally pictured a carnival as I was writing it, with all the colors and fun that go along with that image. I was originally going to call it "The Queens Carnival" because I grew up in Queens, NY, but I decided that the royal "Queen's" sounded better and created a wonderful image!
How was the filming experience of the official video?
The official video for the song is a combination of some stock carnival footage together with footage of the band playing the song live. I think that the director did a wonderful job of merging the two. Initially the video ran into some problems on Facebook - they thought it was too racy! How crazy is that? But we worked it out with Facebook and now the video has been viewed over 500,000 times around the world.
https://www.youtube.com/w...
Why did you choose to name the album after this track in particular?
Coming up with an album name is always a challenge to me. And because the album has such diversity of material there was no one theme that dominated. In the end my team and I just thought that "The Queen's Carnival" was a cool, distinctive name for the album - and we were able to come up with a great visual for the album cover.
Can you tell us about the recording and writing process of the album?
I write in a very idiosyncratic manner. Since I play the bass, I'm always thinking about the feel and the groove of a song. So most of the time I come up first with a bass figure which kinds of guides the rest of the creative process. Once I have something that I like I sing a melody to that figure. If I like what I've done I then "record" a short demo by recording a snippet to my iPhone! I usually let the idea germinate for a few days and then I go back and listen. If I like what I hear I try and finish off the song.
I pride myself on the diversity of my material. I've never been a fan of albums where all the tunes basically sound alike. I've always admired artists like the Beatles who made albums with great variety. That's what I tried for on the new album. So the songs run the gamut from near-hard rock to punk to funk to Latin to Celtic to fusion, with a gentle lullaby thrown in at the end.
When we record an album we do it the old fashioned way - we play the song live in the studio as opposed to recording track-by-track as in pop music. I'm trying to capture the perfect feel. We then do some overdubs where needed, but mostly it's a live in the studio sound.
On the new album, after we recorded the basics of the title track, I felt that something was missing. It was supposed to be a carnival, a fiesta, but it didn't quite have a carnival feel. So I got the idea to have my guys - all Latin - go back in the studio, stand around a mic, and overdub fiesta sounds. Whooping and hollering and yelling in Spanish. As if they were at a carnival. That's what you hear on the final version. It was the cherry on the cake.
You cover a few classic singles (by Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks) - How did you choose which songs to reinvent with your own renditions?
I'm a child of the ‘60s. I grew up with the British Invasion bands and all the great music of that era. In fact, I only played rock music until I was about 19 years old. People like covers because the music is familiar. But I'm not interested in doing a cover that sounds exactly like the original. So I got the notion to "reimagine" a song. To keep enough of it so that the listener can identify it and relate to it, but otherwise to make it my own. I'm not trying to show up the original artist, it's really a form of homage.
I've always loved Hendrix. Who doesn't? 20 years ago I recorded a version of "Fire" on one of my albums by The Robert Miller Group. It was kind of a psychedelic version. Interestingly, I had Al Foster playing drums for that session. Al played with Miles Davis. He had never played the style that we played for that session. But he nailed it.
When we were getting ready to record the last album, "Made In New York", I thought about that version of "Fire" and decided to redo my own version. (How's that for chutzpah?) So I changed it around completely from my older version, and gave it a completely new feel. Kat Robichaud sang the vocal, and I think that the final version is out of sight! And the critics all agreed, as we got incredibly good reviews for that song.
When it came time for the new album I decided to continue the concept of taking a classic rock song and reimagining it. I always loved The Kinks. And "You Really Got Me" is one of my favs. I always considered it to be a forerunner of grunge. It had that great guitar lick and a nasty attitude. I felt like I could take it to another level. Ironically, when we first practiced it, it sounded way too blah for me - like Sade singing it at a Bar Mitzvah. It needed to be toughened up. So I came back the next go round with a new, improved and tougher version - and this one worked right from the get go!
https://www.youtube.com/w...
You also get to blur styles/genres on this album - how did your ‘post-fusion' jazz/rock sound evolve?
Like I said, I was raised on rock. Then I evolved into jazz when I studied for a bit with Jimmy Garrison, John Coltrane's bassist. But the rock/jazz dichotomy has always been a part of me. I knew when I was writing the songs for the new album that I wanted to have a mix that walked that fine line between rock and jazz. I wanted the power and feel of rock and the improvisation of jazz. I wanted to take fusion to a new level. I may be the only guy out there playing this kind of stuff but this is me. This is my artistic vision. I can only hope that people get it and dig it.
What role does Latin culture play on this album, and why do you think the title track has become so popular among Spanish speaking nations?
Like I said, all my guys are Latin, and I was raised in part on Latin music. The title track embodies all of this. When we put the track out there on the Internet and on Facebook, it immediately resonated in various Latin countries - Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic. Even Italy. But it works
with all audiences because it's fun and upbeat. When we play live this is the song that gets the loudest and best response.
Where do you find the inspiration for your original songs and lyrics?
Ha! I have no idea! I just do my thing. I try to stay true to my two loves - rock and jazz. When I write something I never fully orchestrate it. I write a lead sheet with the melody and basic chords. I bring it to rehearsal and I let the music evolve. I rarely tell any of the guys what to play. I let them figure it out for themselves. After all, they're all supremely talented pros. Sometimes I get surprised. So, for example, when I wrote "The Rescue" for the new album, I had in mind "Crossroads" by Cream as the feel that I wanted. But when we played it like that at rehearsal it was totally flat. My guitarist then started playing a James Brown kind of lick, and we all jumped in. And voila - the song was born. I really love when that kind of thing happens.
Any plans to hit the road?
We are concentrating on building a strong following in the tri-state area. We play frequently in NY but also in NJ, CT and PA. And we like to open for people in the bigger venues. So this past year we opened twice for Boney James in two performing arts centers in NJ and PA, we opened for Scott Weiland at the Gramercy Theater in NYC, we opened for The Reign Of Kindo at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, and we were the featured performer at the F.M. Kirby Center in PA.
Our upcoming dates include a special Thanksgiving benefit concert for Citymeals on Wheels at the Iridium in Times Square on Nov. 21st, a featured performance at the Highland Lakes Concert Series in NJ on Dec. 3rd, and opening for Garland Jeffreys at The Stanhope in NJ on Jan. 28th. Plus we have a monthly residency at a neat club in the Village called The Groove.
What else is happening next in Robert Miller's world?
Isn't this enough? But seriously, outside of music I like to spend time with my family - I've been married to my college sweetheart for over 40 years, we have two grown, married daughters, and a 16 month old granddaughter who I passionately adore. I wrote and recorded two songs for her - "The Gift (Juliet's Song)" on the last album, and "Lullaby For Julesy" on the new album. I'm also a big tennis player and a mad fan of the NY Giants! Visit - http://projectgrandslam.c...

The Record-Journal  (Meriden, CT)
CD review by Jim Pasinski 10/28/2016
http://jpsmusicblog.blogs...


Project Grand Slam Hops Aboard "The Queen's Carnival"
From New York comes the latest release titled "The Queen's Carnival" from jazz-fusion band Project Grand Slam. Their new album follows hot on the heels of their successful 2015 album "Made In New York" and features their fresh new take of The Kinks' classic "You Really Got Me." The new single starts the album off with a funk-infused bass line joined by an electrifying guitar solo. The band takes off on the exciting power-jazz instrumentals "Beyond Forever" and "Gorilla," before slowing down for the quiet "Lullaby For Julesy." The band gets funky again with the seventies sound of "Slap Shot," then be prepared to break-out the party favors for the island flavor of "The Queen's Carnival." Their most recent single "The Rescue" showcases the full showmanship of the band, before closing this release with an instrumental version of the opener, "You Really Got Me." To find out more about Project Grand Slam and their most recent release "The Queen's Carnival," please visit projectgrandslam.com .

Current PGS calendar is here:  http://projectgrandslam.c...

Official Music video for title track: https://www.youtube.com/w...

Jimi Hendrix's ‘Fire', performed by PGS live at Rockwood Music Hall:
https://www.facebook.com/...

Watch PGS, with special guest Lucy Woodward, perform their version of The Kinks' ‘You Really Got Me' (this cover has been praised by Ray Davies himself!): https://www.youtube.com/w...

Prior press coverage, here: http://projectgrandslam.c...

More about Project Grand Slam -
Project Grand Slam is an acclaimed jazz rock fusion band, led by bassist/composer Robert Miller, combining the power and beat of rock with the complexity and improvisation of jazz, with a jam band sensibility.



The band has been working steadily. In November 2015 PGS opened for Scott Weiland (formerly of Stone Temple Pilots) at the Gramercy Theater in NYC. In May 2016 the band opened for 4-time Grammy Award nominee Boney James at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in NJ. In July 2016 the band was the featured performer at the F. M. Kirby Center For The Performing Arts in PA. In August 2016 PGS performed at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia and at Garcia's at The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY (following YES). In October 2016 the band opened again for Boney James at the Ridgefield Playhouse (CT). In November PGS will perform at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY, and on 12/8 at Café Wha in a benefit concert for Citymeals. In December 2016 the band will be the featured performer at the Highland Lakes Concert Series (NJ). PGS also continues to play at the better clubs in NYC including the Blue Note, Iridium, The Cutting Room, as well as a monthly residency at The Groove in Greenwich Village.



In August 2016 the band released its 4th album - "The Queen's Carnival" - featuring nine original tunes written by Robert that are rich in texture and diverse in feel, while still staying true to the PGS sound. Plus Robert's totally reimagined cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" (feat. Lucy Woodward on vocals). As Robert says, "The new album is the work that I've been building towards my entire career. It truly captures the two musical genres that have informed my composing and playing - rock and jazz. I consider this a breakthrough album for me and the band."



"The Queen's Carnival" has received uniformly rave reviews, including: "Unquestionably one of the year's best albums!"; "An inspired album...a work of ensemble genius!"; "A uniquely powerful work!"; "A sonic cavalcade of different shades and textures!"; "An album of wide ranging taste and distinction!"; and "Smart, stylish and sophisticated!".  The title tune from the album has similarly garnered rave reviews such as: "Party powered happiness!"; "Percolates with restless kinetic energy!"; and "Crackling hot Latin song craft!". The Official and Live videos of this song have been viewed over 500,000 times to date. And the band's unique cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" has been called "Astonishing!"; "Stunning!"; and "Breathtaking!".



PGS's prior album - "Made In New York" - was released in September 2015 and featured two celebrated singles, "New York City Groove", Robert's love letter to his NYC home, and "Fire", Robert's reimagined version of the Jimi Hendrix classic. Both singles featured 2013 "The Voice" semi-finalist Kat Robichaud on vocals. The videos for "Groove" and "Fire" that have been viewed over 150,000 times to date. The reviews of the album and "Fire" were incredible, with words like "fantastic", "damn fine album" and "hard to resist" for the album, and "superb", "brilliant", "excellent", "stunning" and "unbelievable gem" for "Fire".



Robert originally formed the band in 2007. PGS's first two CDs, "Play" (2008) and "Spring Dance" (2012), had three top radio singles - "The Captain Of Her Heart" (feat. Judie Tzuke on vocals) from Play, and "Catch You Later" and the title song from Spring Dance. In 2009 the band and Robert also had a featured role in an episode of the hit NBC-TV series "Lipstick Jungle" starring Brooke Shields and Kim Raver, with five of the band's tunes featured in the soundtrack.



English language and Spanish language EPKs available upon request.

Visit:
http://projectgrandslam.c...
https://www.facebook.com/...

More Information: http://projectgrandslam.com


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