If you don’t know Hazel Miller of the Hazel Miller Band, then you don’t know Denver.
There are few in Denver who don’t know Hazel Miller. This dynamo of a woman can sing before an enormous crowd and manage to make each person in the crowd know that she’s singing just for them. She can rock the house at the favorite local watering hole, interacting with those that simply can’t help themselves from jumping up and dancing to her music, or she can let her lustrous voice wrap around couples as the glide and spin each other around a dance floor. Her pitch is perfect, her smile contagious, and getting to know her personally only enhances the talent and vibrant personality behind this incredible voice.
Hazel began singing when she was ‘just a little thing.” When she was in third grade she was invited to sing with the eighth grade class for the Christmas pageant. Her teachers then were only the beginning of a string of people that knew she was something special. By Junior High she was singing in bar bands she told me in a stage whisper, adding “my mother had no clue!” Eventually her singing would lead her to be the opening act for Bob James, Mel Torme, Earl Klugh, Patrice Rushen, The Temptations, and The Count Basie Orchestra just to name a few. Hazel has performed regularly with Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and was a regular on the ETown Radio Show on National Public Radio. Major jazz and other music festivals throughout Colorado featured Hazel and her band, and Westword Readers voted her “Best Blues/R&B” band for three consecutive years.
While she launched this incredible career, she did so despite personal challenges that would side-line or remove from the game all together, most performers.
“Just one day short of my first wedding anniversary, my husband left.” With a baby to care for she made things work including starting college to study Anthropology. A “second wonderful son” came along, and despite finding herself single again, she never stopped smiling, never stopped knowing that children are gifts and that she could make things work out.
As Hazel (she would never let me call her Ms. Miller) shared her story, what was present throughout the conversation is her strong faith. “When a door is closed, God opens a window.”
She completed her degree in Anthropology. Asked why she chose Anthropology she answered with certainty: “I’m not an African, I’m American. I have Native American (Cherokee and Choctaw), African and European blood. There’s no such thing as race except the human race.” She considers herself “a student of the world.” She supports this personal philosophy in many ways, including her music.
Hazel Miller traveled five times with the Department of Defense to entertain Americans serving in our military. “I traveled to the Middle East, Far East, Southern Europe, and Germany. I performed for the Air Force, Marines, Army and Coast Guard. I even have been to Iowa Jima. Hazel’s respect for those serving our country was born through her parents’ history. Both served in the Army, met after World War II and ended up marrying and having seven children.
Today Hazel is a grandmother of five and loves each passionately. What stands out above all is her fair-mindedness. When one of her own ‘misbehaved’ she reached out to the spouse and gave much-needed support. She is like that in all respects of life.
After having the opportunity to visit Hiroshima she better understands the responsibility each citizen of each nation has to each other. She is passionate about women’s rights across the world. “Without half of the world (women) how do we progress?” she asked. “The world can’t evolve unless we try to change the world for other women.” She is passionate about working toward a strong world economy in order to provide education, healthcare and prosperity to all children. One way to work for all she dreams for the future is by performing, ‘using the gift God gave me.”
Hazel Miller performs for small and large events, always remaining humble, genuinely Hazel, and always, always, kind and open-hearted. She loves to perform for private events, but she really loves to perform at events that will benefit organizations working toward positive change in the world. She is generous, perhaps too generous, in her pricing so that she can be a part of caring causes. “And I have a great group of talented musicians to work with. They’re each wonderful people.”
Get to know Hazel Miller and the Hazel Miller Band. You’ll come out singing a tune for the better!