‘Dualing’ Pianos perform at MSU 

CSU’s Serendipity Music Series brings back ‘Dualing’ Pianos, also known as Scottie Miller and Tom Hunter. The duo played piano and took turns letting the other shine with their bluesy music. 

The duo met through Big John Dickerson’s band. Hunter was leaving the group, and Miller came in to play after him. This was in the winter of 1997. 

“Tom went off to do touring with Bernard Allison, and I carried on with Big John Dickerson for a few years,” said Miller. “I never played duo, piano gigs or dueling piano. So this is just a unique pairing I probably would only do with Tom, all because Lenny requested to put something special together.” 

Hunter said he likes playing with one other person rather than a big group due to having a little mystery. 

“When you’re playing with a group, even if it’s like a blues group or getting into a jazz group, people aren’t really improvising. They’re practicing that stuff over and over,” said Hunter. “They improvise when they make a mistake, but sometimes when you just get someone sitting there or something totally different. You’re forced to do it because you don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen next.” 

Miller said he likes playing at the Serendipity Music Series because he gets to listen to another person and learn. 

“I like playing along and listening to what Tom is playing and learning from how he approaches his music and the piano music he’s doing versus how I do it. It’s just little differences and fun,” said Miller. “So I suppose the most fun part of it is the improvisational part. When Tom’s playing a tune and I can come in, and we improvise, and then sometimes we complement each other. When that syncs up, it’s pretty fun because it’s improvised.” 

Miller advises those wanting to pursue music as a career to attend MSU. 

“Learn your craft, learn your instrument. More timing, you know, it’s like, if you can, if you’re going to school here and taking private lessons, keep at it, stick through the studying. The more you do upfront, the better,” said Miller. “It just pays off continuously. The older you get, the longer you’re in the music business, your practice and your training.” 

Hunter also advises those wanting to pursue music. 

“Do it because you love it and do it to make people happier. In the end, I always tell people to try to keep a really good attitude. Yes, it’s really important,” said Hunter. “Don’t get jaded. That’s something that I think is a real trap because there’s a reason for it; I think that you have to be critical to be able to get better.” 

Header Photo: Scottie Miller (above) has been inducted three times into The Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame. (Phedias Pierides/The Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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