Daniel Gilbert Miller II

May 31, 1968August 19, 2022
Obituary of Daniel Gilbert Miller II
Dan Miller, a trumpeter known for his soaring lead sound and skill as a jazz improvisor, died unexpectedly in his sleep on Friday, Aug. 19 in Ft. Myers, Florida at age 54. A native of Gurnee, Illinois, he performed with the big bands of Lionel Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, Harry Connick Jr., with whom he spent 11 years traveling the world and recording numerous albums and television specials, as well as with pop stars like Tom Jones and with the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis. As an educator Miller helped organize the Naples Youth Jazz Orchestra and taught improvisation classes in the Jazz Studio of the University of Central Florida's School of Performing Arts. Miller was also a member of the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra. Dan Miller was born May 31, 1968 in Waukegan, Illinois, His father, John Roderick Miller, worked in car sales while racing, owning, and “wrenching” cars in NHRA, NASCAR and Indy-sponsored events. His mother, the former Virginia Marian Pacioni, worked for the Collier County Solid Waste Department as a weightmaster. Beginning to play trumpet in grade school, he was influenced by recordings his father would play for him of Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and Maynard Ferguson. In 2004, Miller began to split his time between NYC and Florida leading his own groups, making numerous appearances in NYC for the Jazz Foundation of America, while also working with David “Fathead” Newman, Lew De Gatto, Jimmy McGriff and others as well as appearing frequently in the city at Smalls and Fat Cat. Since 2014, he had been an Artist-in-Residence for the University of Central Florida (UCF) School of Performing Arts and the Jazz Department. In the Fall of 2019, he joined the faculty of UCF teaching jazz trumpet. Besides all this, he taught the improvisation concepts of Barry Harris, as well as teaching and coaching the UCF Flying Horse Big Band trumpet section. Dan is survived by his mother Virginia, longtime companion Judi Woods, his brother David, sister-in-law Julie Miller and beloved niece Melanie Miller. (Thank you to musician/historian/educator Bobby Sanabria for permission to use) Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Miller family.

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