About Mills

Childhood

David Vincent Mills is a funky jazz pianist and keyboardist, composer, recording artist and producer with over 20 years of professional experience whose roots are in jazz and classical music as he studied both piano and trumpet from a young age. Born in Royal Oak Michigan, and growing up in Southern California, mostly in Lake Arrowhead with a brief stint in West Hartford Connecticut, Mills' home was filled with the sounds of jazz due to his father being a jazz aficionado and trumpet player. His mother was a lover of classical music and it was she that first exposed Mills to that side of his future training. 

Since the age of 4, Mills has been composing songs and at the age of 6 he formally began his piano studies. By the age of 10 his father began teaching him trumpet and he played in symphonic and jazz big bands through middle and high school. His true love was the piano though, and now is his main instrument. In his early teens, Mills began studying with renowned pianist and composer Clare Fischer. Later in college at RCC and UCR he broadened his palette to include all Western musical styles and various musical genres of the world. Today he is interested in free-form improvising as well as using his original compositions as a launching pad for improvisation, tapping into an assortment of musical genres and discovering the common ground within the juxtaposition of those genres. 

Music

In addition to performing extensively in Southern California and the greater South West, Mills has performed throughout the world, including the Montreux Jazz Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival and has opened up for Chick Corea, Lionel Hampton, and Eek-A-Mouse. He was the keyboardist for American Idol’s Kimberley Locke with whom he performed in stadiums, concerts halls, clubs throughout the U.S.A. and on national television, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He has also shared the stage with Eric Marienthal and Bobby Shew. In a review of his CD "Have We Met?" with his band 3 Squares, Jerome Wilson of Cadence magazine wrote, "David Vincent Mills' piano has some of Carla Bley's simple and elemental style."

Mills also works as a composer creating jingles for radio, soundtracks for videos, audio books, websites, television and original songs for his projects and independently released CDs. In addition, Mills has been a studio musician as well as a producer for numerous recording artists in the genres of jazz, rock, and folk.

Teaching

Mills' began teaching piano in college to other fellow students and from 1996 through 2006, he has instructed piano full-time to students ages 4 to 84 from beginners to advanced in all genres of music. He continues now to teach part-time to selected students.

In 2006 Mills and his wife, Jen Valencia, relocated to Sedona Arizona for a change of pace and to be inspired by Sedona's natural beauty so that they could focus on their creative pursuits, specifically to Mills, his own compositions and his own 'sound'. Since then, he has developed what he calls "something of a musical prayer" with his improvised solo piano playing and shared it on May 15, 2008 in his first recorded solo piano concert launching the "Conversations in Music" series. In addition, Mills has started all of his other bands and projects, many of which, such as the jazzy funk Projects 'Junk' and 'Sticks & Bones' were a new direction for Mills. Recordings for these projects are slated for 2011-2012. Also, Mills has been a member, sideman, musical director, arranger, studio musician, and producer for many other Arizona bands. In the process, Mills has been rewarded by playing with many local and famous talents.

Written Word

Mills' talent for writing music spills over into the literary world. He also writes contemporary poetry and short stories and has been published in 'Tales of the Talisman' a quarterly science fiction magazine. He has co-authored a children's book with his wife Jen Valencia which is now in the illustration phase.

Mills also has a knack for humor, coming from both of his parents, in particular his mother. Pairing that humor with the business and economic sensibilities his mother instilled in Mills, he has started a design business with his wife Jen, creating fun and witty designs for t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and other various gift items. See their work at www.ywearclothing.com

Photography/Art

As a child, David Vincent Mills watched his full-time artist father John Mills create photo-realism paintings. Now David relaxes by painting abstract/surreal art and plein air paintings of Sedona to express his visual creativity. On his father's photo shoots for his painting subjects, David as a youth was his father's 'color man', by shooting the subjects with 35 mm color film while his father shot the image with a 2 1/4 black and white camera for the composition and detail. On occasion, his father would use David's color photos for the composition of his works. David realized then a love for the camera and capturing the world around him with the use of the shutter. Often, because of David's knack for naming things, his father would use David's names for his paintings.

David has sold his artwork, paintings and photography, and co-owned an art gallery, RavenHawk Studios www.ravenhawks.com with his wife Jen in Idyllwild, California in which they opened in 2001. He now sells his artwork in Sedona galleries.

 

Performance History

Opened Up For:

Chick Corea 
Poncho Sanchez 
Lionel Hampton
The Count Basie Orchestra
Eek-A-Mouse.

Toured With:

Mills was the keyboardist for American Idol’s Kimberley Locke with whom he performed in stadiums, concerts halls, clubs throughout the U.S.A. and on national television, The Ellen DeGeneres Show - To view show click here.

Performed With:

Eric Marienthal 
Bobby Shew
Joel de Bartolo
Marshall Hawkins
Julie Burrell
The Cunninghams
Bill Reichenbach
Jack Petersen
Frank Macchia
Dan Tomlinson
Gary Stroutsos
Eleanor Academia
Gerald Johnson
Michael Moore

 Festivals - Sample:

Montreux Jazz Festival
Playboy Jazz Festival
Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines
Sedona Jazz on the Rocks
Prescott Jazz Summit
Riverside Jazz Festival
San Bernardino Jazz Festival
Yosemite Flute Festival
Idaho Flute Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Sedona International Film Festival
Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival
Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival

Venues - Sample:

The Baked Potato - Los Angeles
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York City
House of Blues - Chicago

Television:

The Ellen DeGeneres Show - To view show click here. 
ABC News - Los Angeles
CBS News - Los Angeles
NBC News - Los Angeles
KTLA News - Los Angeles
Johnny Yune Show - Mills was a member of the house band. Show aired internationally on KBS.

Dignitaries:

President of the United States - George H.W. Bush
California Governor - Pete Wilson

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