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Like his other nine, this symphony is written in Millman’s distinctive style of marrying traditional symphonic notes to big-band, Afro-Latin percussion, and jazz-dance styles. He hopes to debut “Number Ten” at one of the world’s great symphony orchestras— Prague or maybe Montreal or maybe at the Hollywood Bowl, where Millman played his horn with most of the jazz greats of his era. Living among the Spanish-moss-draped live oaks of northern Florida now, Millman— who did 25 push-ups every day until a recent health setback—is not one to spend his time reminiscing. Although he lost his wife of 35 years, Joy Millman, not long ago—“She was the star of my life”—his eyes are fixed firmly on the present. And the future. But recently he shared some excerpts of his long and movie-worthy past. Millman got his first trumpet, a gift from his grandmother, at age 15. “I played it so much that my hands turned green,” he recalls. In high school in southern California (his music teacher had played trombone with the Glenn Miller Orchestra), he was active in all the school bands and, even before graduating, put together some of his fellow students to play gigs all over L.A. They played dances and events for the Rotary and Lions Clubs, the VFW, and other fraternal organizations. “We were working all the time,” Millman says. “We were bringing in as much money as our fathers were making.” By the age of 17, the

all that



fter seven decades as a musician, inventor, and composer, Jack Millman continues to ride the waves of his passions. “I brought Dick Dale over from the Rinky Dink Ice Cream Parlor where he was playing to the Rendezvous Ballroom on the Balboa Peninsula,” Jack Millman says. Millman, who at the time had a gig as a jazz trumpeter with an 18-piece big band at the Rendezvous, had taken a break between sets to cool down at the Rinky Dink, which was around the corner. There, in the back room, he spotted Dick Dale, who would become known as the King of the Surf Guitar as the lead for the Del-Tones, playing to a crowd of about 500 people jammed into a space that

probably should have held 50. He also saw Jim Mansour, Dale’s father and manager, sitting in a corner. “I said, ‘Jim, bring Dick to the Rendezvous, man. I could put 1,500 people on the dance floor with him playing.’” Millman has always been cool like that. Blessed with aptitude, attitude, and drive to spare, he also knows talent when he sees it. Dale, who became his lifelong friend, had just died some weeks earlier. But Millman, 88, is still going strong. After decades as a top jazzman, composer, and Los Angeles– based businessman, he is now busy organizing his memoirs, making deals for the use of the thousands of digitized recordings still in his vault, and putting the finishing touches on his “Symphony Number Ten.”

Jack Millman still playing it cool (2017). Top: Cover art from the album World’s Greatest Jam Session (1981).


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