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Duncan Millar grew up near London and played the piano from an early age. Although he studied classically his great passion was jazz and in particular jazz pianists such as Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. After playing jazz in small groups at college and on the local scene he pursued this interest by moving to Boston, Mass., where for two years he studied jazz piano and arranging and also film-scoring at Berklee College.
Duncan’s interest in the jazz/acid-jazz sphere continued to be strong, however, and he wrote and produced a single, mixing samples and beats with live playing under the name “A-One”. The track, called “West By South West”, was released by WOW Records in Notting Hill, and became a hit on the acid-jazz club scene in London, also winning single-of the-week accolades in the music-press.
Other tracks evolved over time and A-One eventually moved from WOW to Indochina Records, finally releasing an album called “Free Association”. Tracks from the album were also included on U.S. compilation albums, including several from labels such as Instinct, NYC, and Moonshine, LA, and also on the UK Streetjazz series.
This led to Duncan signing a solo album deal with Instinct Records, NYC, and his album-release Dream Your Dream in August 1998. The album-single “Little Ray Of Sunshine” made it into the U.S. Smooth Jazz Charts and the title-track “Dream Your Dream” was also heavily play-listed on Jazz FM in the UK, along with other tracks. As a result of this album, Duncan also received a nomination as Best UK Jazz Act in the prestigious MOBO music-industry awards held in London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Duncan released a second album, Good To Go, on Instinct in June 2001, with several tracks also receiving steady air-play and continuing to do so. His tracks also appeared on the majority of numerous Instinct smooth-jazz compilations such as Smooth Jazz Radio Hits, The Best of Smooth Jazz Blues and Bossa Brava Caliente. Passion Jazz Records in London also released a compilation, Comin’ Thru’, of tracks from both albums in March 2002, and Duncan played a number of UK gigs to support this, including at the Jazz Café, London.
Now, after an over-long sabbatical, Duncan has re-emerged with a new album, “Fresh Air”. Fresh, because the piano-focused tracks reflect new-found musical influences. Also, because in a changed musical-world, Duncan has also forged fresh ways of working, such as self-producing his album on new boutique label Warmday Records.
Duncan returns with ten enticing new tracks. Filled out by a full band comprising some of London’s leading jazz and funk musicians, including sax and trumpet, the keyboard-led melodies take you on a journey through a range of sensuous moods and grooves, ranging from funk to slow-samba to jazz-waltz.