Renowned jazz drummer, composer, teacher and bandleader Allison Miller is back with a new album, the first since 2013’s acclaimed No Morphine, No Lilies. Alongside a top notch band in Boom Tic Boom, Otis Was a Polar Bear catches Miller at a watershed moment in her life, not just as a growing musician, but now as a parent. Drawing great inspiration from her daughter Josie, Miller explains the departure from her last album to this most recent studio effort. “The last record was about such intense hardship and pain. This record is the other side of all that—it’s the beauty that comes after a storm.”The album opens with the bright, sultry Latin flair of Ben Goldberg’s charming clarinet play on “Fuster.” Inspired by Cuban artist José Rodríguez Fuster, the composition has its origins rooted in everyday life, this particular track, an unshakable melody Miller had sung to Josie in the first weeks of her life. Likewise, “Hoarding the Pod” comes from an over-caffeinated state during a recording session with Natalie Merchant. Its frantic, supercharged intro takes a backseat to a mellow groove supplied by Miller, finally giving way to the controlled chaos of Jenny Scheinman’s violin boiling over, Kirk Knuffke’s cornet beaming and Myra Melford making it rain piano keys.With a beautiful and thoughtful pairing of “The Listener” and “Lullaby For Cookie,” Miller delicately bridges the gap between life and death, the former written for a music-obsessed friend who died suddenly, while the latter was written for Miller’s daughter Josie before her birth. Miller’s relatively minimalist approach on these arrangements packs a significant punch.The album’s title track, “Otis Was a Polar Bear” evokes great imagery, not unlike the Melford-lead “Pig In A Sidecar” or “Shimmer.” Scheinman’s playful strokes and plucks on “Otis” are accented by Knuffke’s and Goldberg’s summit of brass and woodwinds while Miller and upright bassist Todd Sickafoose fill out a highly active and invigorated rhythm section.“Slow Jam” certainly lives up to its name. Miller’s simple, elegant groove is guided through the slow burner by a steady bass line and fantastic interplay with Melford and Knuffke. Miller’s final selection,”Staten Island,” was written after the tragic killing of Eric Garner by Staten Island police. “I sat down at the piano feeling hopeless and filled with rage. This is what came out,” Miller says. As in the case of Garner, there are a lot of moving parts to this track. Scattered flurries from Goldberg’s clarinet are mirrored by Milford’s frenzied piano before Miller is finally set off like a stick of dynamite into a righteous rock groove. When the groove begins its descent it’s left with only the sombre notes of Knuffke’s waning cornet.From traditional rock and jazz themes to the avant-garde variety, Allison Miller’s Otis Was a Polar Bear will present something of significance for the ear of any listener, whether the casual jazz fan or the most hardcore fan of fusion. Her chops are undeniable as is her ability to compose and elevate the separate links of her band in a way that reflects a focused and unrestrained sound.Otis Was a Polar Bear is set for release April 8 on Royal Potato Family. You can watch a behind the scenes video on the making of the album below, and don’t forget to check out Miller’s upcoming tour dates, as she and Boom Tic Boom will be out on the road this coming spring.Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Spring 2016 Tour4/8 Seattle, WA @ Royal Room 4/9 Portland, OR @ Alberta St. Pub4/10 Arcata, CA @ Kate Buchanan Room HSU 4/14 Santa Cruz, CA @ Kuumbwa4/15 Los Angeles, CA @ The Blue Whale4/16 Berekely, CA @ Freight and Salvage4/17 Half Moon Bay, CA @ Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society4/27 Bloomsburg, PA @ Bloomsburg University4/28 Erie, PA @ Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture: Walker Recital Hall4/29 Lewisburg, WV @ Carnegie Hall4/30 Roanoke, VA @ Jazz Club at Jefferson Center5/1 Baltimore, MD @ Creative Alliance5/3 Charlottesville, VA @ Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church5/5 New York, NY @ Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola5/6 New Haven, CT @ Firehouse 125/7 North Adams, MA @ MASS MoCA5/8 Goshen, MA @ Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares: Institute for the Musical Arts5/13 Philadelphia, PA @ Ars Nova Workshop: Philadelphia Art Alliance5/14 Washington, DC @ Kennedy Center: 21st Annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival7/1 Iowa City, IA @ Iowa City Jazz Festival
Belgian pensions industry organisation PensioPlus is planning further action to enhance the sector’s pioneering role as prime location for pan-European pension funds through the implementation of IORP II.In a memorandum about the sector’s future, it said it would focus on simplifying procedures for admittance and implementation for cross-border schemes as well as their fiscal treatment.PensioPlus said it would also look into the barriers to migrating pension funds caused by double taxation treaties. The introduction of the financial transaction tax, for example, would be “the kiss of death” for pan-European pension funds, it said.Citing figures from European supervisor EIOPA, the organisation said that Belgium was home to 14 cross-border schemes. This was expected to rise to 19. Ireland and the UK accommodated 26 and 19 cross-border pension funds, respectively. Earlier this year, PensioPlus said it wanted to grow the industry’s assets under management to €100bn by 2025 through expanding coverage and attracting more cross-border schemes.Belgian schemes net 8.5% return in H1 Credit: Dimitris Vetsikas The Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, BelgiumMeanwhile, PensioPlus’ 201 member schemes posted an average investment return of almost 8.5% during the first six months of 2019.The annualised historical return, adjusted for inflation, was more than 3.9% on average over the past 30 years, it said, attributing the results to a stable allocation of equity and fixed income.At June-end, Belgian funds held an average of 39% in equity, 45% in fixed income, and 4% in property. Cash holdings totalled 4% of the combined pension assets of €46bn, while alternatives accounted for 7%.The industry organisation highlighted that the search for yield in a low interest rate environment would increase the importance of alternative asset classes, including infrastructure and private equity, and would require greater risk management.In order to find investable projects of sufficient scale locally, it advocated “organisational improvements” at the supply side.“This would enable pension funds to take full social responsibility as long-term investors in the real economy,” it said.Further readingBelgium: Rolling out IORP IIBelgium is proud of its transposition of the EU’s new pension fund directiveCross-border pensions: Barriers to entryBosch Group’s Dirk Jargstorff explains his company’s efforts to set up a cross-border arrangement for its Austrian employees
Photo: © pixabay While Stephens says it’s been a tough road back from surgery at the start of the year. It’s the first all-American women’s US Open final since Serena Williams beat her Venus in 200215th seed Madison Keys and the unseeded Sloane Stephens are both in their first ever major finals.Both players were injured at the start of the season and Keys says their unlikely meeting in the decider makes it special.
Speaking on the hosting, Vice President of the NCF, Mr. Uyi Akpata, explained that the rationale for hosting this competition was born out of the boardâ€™s desire to reposition the sport since assumption of office eight months ago.Uyi who also doubles as the chairman of the LOC of the tournament, stressed further that the NCF board under the leadership of Professor Yayaha Adam Ukwenya, would do everything humanly possible to package one of the best cricket competitions ever in Nigeria.He also stressed that the board already has Eroton Exploration and Production Ltd and Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc as the federationâ€™s sponsor but will continue to work round the clock in getting more sponsors to make NCF less dependent on the ICC and government for its funding.The Technical Representative on the NCF Board, Mr. Dahiru Enesi, assured Nigerians that the country would present the best players for the qualifying tournament in April. â€œCurrently we have 21 players out of 33 players invited to camp that scaled the first trials and much later three foreign-based players namely: Shola Anyia (United Kingdom), Saheed Akolade (Australia) and Dotun Olatunji (Canada) would join up starting from Monday, March 12, 2018 during the second phaseâ€.He further revealed that this year, NCF decided to move out of the norm to create a tournament during trials with coaches and selectors dividing the players into three teams namely: Team Alakija, Team Nwokedi and Team Kalada.â€œThis move ensured that the best batsmen faced the best bowlers and vice versa which in turn resulted to the best 22 players that are gearing up for the second phase this month,â€ concludes the technical representative.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) has been given the final approval by the International Cricket Council to host the ICC Sub-regional T20 Qualifying Tournament at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos between April 12 and April 22, 2018.ICC Representative Mr. Kuben Pilay and members of the LOC have agreed on plans forsecurity, catering, accommodation, transportation, medical and media during the tournament.Pilay also hinted that the ICC was pleased with level of preparedness by Nigeria to host the regional tournament.According to him, â€œwe are impressed with the level of work done so far and the level of commitment by members of the LOC.â€He also expressed optimism that this will be the first in a series of international competition to be hosted by Nigeria.
#Raptors Star Kawhi Leonard (@kawhileonard) on how he reacts to rumors and reports on the radio and TV. #Clippers pic.twitter.com/5LtuaNxH4i— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 12, 2018“I don’t really watch TV too much,” Leonard told reporters. “There’s a lot of different things you can do these days with different apps or websites you can go to and watch TV shows, movies, etc.”The Raptors went on to win 123-99 against the Clippers, but they had to do it without Leonard as he was sidelined with a sore right hip. The 27-year-old originally suffered the injury late in Toronto’s 104-99 home loss to the Bucks on Sunday. He went through the shootaround before the matchup in Los Angeles, but was still sore.In his first season with the Raptors, Leonard is averaging 26.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and three assists as Toronto is now 22-7 and at the top of the Eastern Conference. Kawhi Leonard injury update: Raptors star (hip) will miss game vs. Warriors Kawhi Leonard doesn’t appear to be in the holiday spirit just yet. Before the Raptors faced the Clippers on Tuesday, the Toronto guard was given a relatively easy question when asked if he could talk about his favorite Christmas moment. But Leonard didn’t want to answer the question as he simply said: “Not right now.” Reporter – “Merry Christmas. Can you talk about your favorite Christmas moment?”Kawhi Leonard – “Not right now.”#Clippers #Raptors pic.twitter.com/2tAlyg7e72— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) December 12, 2018He was willing to give a more thorough answer on how he reacts to rumors and reports on the radio and TV, though he didn’t reveal very much. Related News