The Competition for the Phil Miller Guitar Prize is held annually at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and took place in the Conservatoir’s Eastside Jazz Club last Thursday 16th March. The £1000 prize is open to students at the Conservatoire who have each chosen one of Phil’s compositions and is awarded to the best performance / interpretation. We had a fantastic response this year, all the performances were very strong and the adjudicating panel, consisting of staff from the Conservatoire, had their work cut out when deciding the winners.
The evening took off with Fred Baker and his Trio with Mickey O’Brien on bass and Jim Bashford on drums entertaining us with a variety of Phil Miller numbers, with some magic soloing from Fred who is a lecturer in the Jazz department at the Conservatoire and played bass in Phil’s band In Cahoots and partnered him in the Miller/Baker Duo.
After a short interval the winners were announced
The first prize went to the Joseph Hiles and James Coni duo: £600 to be split between them.
The joint runners up were Timothy Alan and Alfie Dean: £200 each.
The Grand Finale
After the announcement of the winners came the Grand Finale where all the musicians arrived back on stage to jam on Phil Miller’s riff from Nan True’s Hole
Phil Howitt from Facelift was in the audience and posted a very nice review of the night’s events plus some great photos. Find it here:
I was very sorry to miss this, as I am a visiting lecturer at the Conservatoire myself, but I had a gig that evening with another excellent guitarist, the very fine though undersung Mal Gibbons. Congratulations to all who took part; I am very pleased that Phil’s music continues to be picked up by yet another generation of players, thanks in no small part to Fred’s work over the years.