Ron Miles: Heaven (2002)
The intimacy of simplicity.
Former Mercer Ellington Orchestra trumpeter Ron Miles joins frequent collaborator Bill Frisell for a spare and beautiful duet outing. Frisell performs mostly on acoustic guitar and very much in a comping, supporting roll. The collection therein consists of equal parts cover tunes and originals. There is a very pastoral or rural tone to Miles' playing. I do not know if I would classify his original compositions as jazz. This music is carefully distilled to a bare essence that may not be jazz and it may not make any difference that it is not. Heaven sloughs off the mortal coil of categorization and presents this music as music. Simple and refined, crystalline and defined.
Miles carefully chooses standards. Included are Monk's "We See," Ellington's "Heaven," Morton's "King Porter Stomp," Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart," and Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall." The latter two of these are a stretch, but still come off effectively. Bill Frisell is the perfect accompanist. He is characteristically transparent in his comping and tastefully apparent in his soloing. Ever the professional, Frisell provides a perfect balance of support and leadership. Heaven is a quiet tone poem of praise.
Track Listing: Just Married; Coward Of The County; Ron Miles; Beautiful; We See; Heaven; King Porter Stomp; Your Cheatin' Heart; Close; Falsetto; A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall; Darken My Door.
Personnel: Ron Miles: trumpet; Bill Frisell: guitar.