Avant Garde Neo Classical Jazz

Michigan's cutting-edge piano & reeds ensemble explore a world of polyrhythms, 20th Century classical techniques, and free form jazz. That's what they say.

The 1st quartet formed very gradually in the fall of 1974 with brother Roger Miller on pump organ,
then piano by early 1975. 
This original version was more classical leaning, 
blooming into
full fruition by February 1975. The band folded in April, shortly after their recording
in March that year, as Roger then left the group for other musical experiences.

The 2nd quartet formed later that month with their music teacher Denman Maroney
as new pianist and fellow composer. This incarnation was more jazz-leaning, and
experimented with polyrhythm. A 'live' recording in June captured their sound.

Both recordings were surprisingly released 45 years later on CUNEIFORM RECORDS.

Both collections met with rave reviews much to all our greatful astonishment.

~ 1st Incarnation of the group ~



Released on Cuneiform Records June 2021

"...the result is a music that defies categorization but effortlessly bridges musical worlds
that normally occupy very different cultural spaces, creating a chamber music
that is as radical in 2022 as it was in 1975..."

                                                 ~ 2nd Incarnation of the group ~

"Grand Bland Vapid Rapids"
[ Slated for Release September 2022 ]

The Fourth World Quartet formed in February 1975 at Thomas Jefferson College. Roger Miller, the original pianist, left the group in April. By the end of that month, Denman Maroney, who taught composition for the remaining member's – Benjamin and Laurence Miller and Jack Waterstone – suggested joining the band as their new pianist. The members were thrilled.

Denman was an undergraduate student from 1967-71 at Williams College. There he spent time at Bennington, where Bill Dixon and Jimmy Garrison filled his head with Coltrane, Ayler, Coleman, Taylor, etc. From 1972-74, Denman attended Cal. Arts, where Jim Tenney, Mort Subotnick, Lucky Mosco, and Ingram Marshall filled his head with Ives, Joplin, Messiaen, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Varèse, etc.

Thanks to CalArts teacher John Bergamo, Denman got a job teaching at Thomas Jefferson College. There, Denman and choreographer Beverly Brown taught a course called Sound & Movement where this new Fourth World Quartet was collaborating for the class. Both band and dance students worked together, forging ahead with free improvisation on a regular basis. The Fourth World Quartet performed at a TJC Music Performance and a house party in Ann Arbor in April, and again at Grand Valley State College Graduation Picnic in June 1975.

At the end of the school year, Denman was offered the same teaching position at Thomas Jefferson College with less pay and thus he left for NYC. Laurence, Benjamin and Jack continued composing and trying material out with other ensembles that never quite took shape until early 1976 when their efforts dissolved.

Previous aspects of the earlier version of the band (see Cuneiform's “1975”), which included psychedelic guitar, changed when the newly reformed quartet focused further on 20th Century techniques along with Denman's exploration in using advanced polyrhythms.

THE FOURTH WORLD QUARTET performing at Grand Rapid's Thomas Jefferson College
"end of the year" Outdoor Graduation Picnic Party, Johnson Park, June 1975.

         Benjamin Miller: Alto Sax       Jack Waterstone: Alto Sax      Laurence Miller: Bass Clarinet       Denman Maroney: Piano (inside the piano)

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