Steve Miller

Born : December 19th, 1943
Died : December 9th, 1998 - London
Past Bands : Delivery (1966-73), Caravan (1971-72), Steve Miller/Lol Coxhill Duo, Steve Miller/Mark Hewins Duo (1985), Steve Miller Trio/Quartet, Phil Miller/Steve Miller/Mark Hewins Trio

A Short Bio:

The elder brother of guitarist Phil Miller, Steve Miller began his musical career in the early sixties, gigging with numerous blues and R'n'B outfits, and sometimes backing visiting American musicians. By the end of the decade, he had become an in-demand session player, guesting on albums by the likes of Alexis Korner, John Dummer, Daddy Longlegs and Free.

Meanwhile, in 1966 Miller formed his own group, Delivery, in which he played keyboards and sang, alongside brother Phil on guitar, Pip Pyle on drums and Jack Monk on bass. Later on, they were joined by Lol Coxhill on sax and Roy Babbington on bass (replacing Monk), by which time they were gigging regularly at Ronnie Scott's. Eventually, Delivery became the backing group of singer Carol Grimes, and recorded their sole album, Fools Meeting (1970) in that setting.

In 1971, Delivery broke up, but carried on for a few months as DC & The MBs (short for Dyble-Coxhill and the Miller brothers), with ex-Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble, but that ground to a halt too. He was then asked by Caravan, a band he had been friendly with for some time, to fill the gap left by David Sinclair's recent departure. As it turned out, Miller's style didn't quite fit with Caravan's music, being more piano- and jazz-orientated. But the line-up survived long enough to record one album, Waterloo Lily, which featured two of Miller's own compositions and guest appearances by Phil Miller and Lol Coxhill.

Miller left Caravan in July 1972, and was soon joined by Richard Sinclair, Caravan's bass player and vocalist, who was also interested in pursuing a more jazz-orientated venture. Together with Phil Miller, who at the time was concurrently involved in Matching Mole, Pip Pyle, who had left Gong a few months previously and was now available, and Lol Coxhill, they reformed Delivery. This incarnation played just one gig, in late August, at a festival at the Tower of London.

Eventually, part of the line-up evolved to a different project, Hatfield and the North, leaving Steve Miller and Lol Coxhill to concentrate on their duo work, which resulted in two albums : Coxhill/Miller (1973) and The Story So Far.../Oh Really? (1974). In early 1973, Delivery existed briefly again with the return of Roy Babbington and Laurie Allan, but this was ended when Babbington left to join Soft Machine.

Steve Miller's activities subsequently became infrequent (there are records of trio gigs with Allan and Jack Monk as rhythm section), and by the late seventies he was reported to be mainly working as a carpenter (as old colleague Richard Sinclair was during the same period). He contributed a solo piano improvisation to the legendary Miniatures (1980) album compiled by Morgan Fisher.

Miller's duo with Mark Hewins opened for In Cahoots on their 1985 tour, and in 1986 he released a double album with his trio (Tony Moore on double bass and Eddie Prévost on drums), augmented by Lol Coxhill, Miller's Tale. This is apparently his last release to date, although the trio has continued since. More recently (1996-97), there were trio gigs by the Miller brothers and Mark Hewins.

In the Spring of 1998, it was announced that Steve Miller was ill with cancer, and a benefit gig was arranged on June 28th at London's Vortex Jazz Bar. This featured reformations of both Delivery and Miller's jazz quartet (with Fred Baker deputising on bass with both), and improvisations with Elton Dean and Mark Hewins. Needless to say, Miller played superbly that night.

Sadly, the illness couldn't be fought against anymore and on December 9th, 1998, it was announced that Steve had died in the morning. He left a wife (Minna) and daughter (Stephanie). His brother Phil dedicated his next album, Out Of The Blue, to Steve's memory, and in 2003 released two solo piano albums by him on his own Crescent Discs label.