Some musicians are recognized not only for their abilities but also their vociferous commentaries, holding true the phrase that the squeaky wheel gets the most attention." Yet there are more subdued voices who let their music do the talking, as is the case for Ron Miles' Quiver, a project led by the Denver-based trumpeter and his talented cohorts, guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade. These gentle masters are highly respected leaders with expansive discographies and projects that have covered a wide spectrum of contemporary music. Miles and Frisell have worked on a number of projects including ...read more
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3[Editor's Note: In Florence Wetzel's in-depth interview with Ron Miles, the Colorado-based trumpeter covers the rest of his releases, including an exclusive first look at his forthcoming album, Quiver (Enja, 2012), due out later this year.] Chapter Index Laughing Barrel Stone/Blossom Quiver Practicing and Composing Thoughts on Performing Self-Promotion and Careers The Colorado Sound Laughing Barrel AAJ: So next you have another Sterling Circle release, Laughing Barrel (2003), which has seven tunes, all your original compositions. Rudy Royston is on drums, and you have ...read more
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3[Editor's Note: The second part of Florence Wetzel's extensive interview with Ron Miles covers the Colorado-based trumpeter's early performance years, and begins a chronological look at all of his solo releases, beginning with Distance for Safety (Prolific Records, 1987) and concluding with Heaven (Sterling Circle, 2002), his soft duet with guitarist Bill Frisell, with whom Miles has played, off and on, since the early 1990s. Part 3 concludes the interview tomorrow]. Chapter Index Distance for Safety Master's Degree and Teaching Witness Mercer Ellington Bill Frisell My Cruel Heart ...read more
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3[Editor's note: Last month, All About Jazz contributor Florence Wetzel conducted a two-hour interview with Ron Miles. The result is the most extensive interview piece ever written about the Colorado-based trumpeter. Part 1 covers his early years and education; Parts 2 and 3, bringing Miles up to the present, will be published on consecutive days.]Now at the midpoint of his career, trumpeter Ron Miles has created a musical output of astonishing versatility and depth. He has nine releases as a leader, including the upcoming Quiver (Enja, 2012) with guitarist ...read more
It's no secret why Ron Miles is one of the most highly regarded trumpeters of his generation. His rich, burnished tone and supple lyricism have won over Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz--two of jazz's leading aesthetic visionaries--along with fans who appreciate understatement, whispered dissonance, wry humor. All of these attributes can be found on Stone/Blossom, the Denver-based trumpeter's latest effort, a collection that finds Miles walking the line between rock and jazz, Motown and country, threading these disparate styles together with his unmistakable sound. Stone, the first of two discs, is a fairly straightforward quartet session featuring ...read more
Ron Miles' trumpet has such an appealing tone that I'd eagerly listen to him play the songs of Johnny Cash, Lee Morgan, or Earth, Wind and Fire. His directions in music, like those of his close friend Bill Frisell, have been forged from more than just the jazz canon.
Stone/Blossom is equal parts jazz, 1970s love rock and Americana. The Denver-based artist has graced the bands of Bill Frisell, Matt Wilson, Don Byron, and Denver's well-kept secret, Fred Hess. Like his contemporaries, his music is informed by his experience and his surroundings. This release consists of two discs, ...read more
The idea for Laughing Barrel, the title of trumpeter Ron Miles' latest CD, comes from the writings of Ralph Ellison, the great African-American author. According to Ellison, an enslaved man, when he had the urge to laugh (strangely forbidden fruit for these poor souls), would put his head in a barrel to muffle the sounds of the soul-soothing treat.
Music then--as it does now--also eased the pains of the soul. Field hollers, spirituals, the blues...jazz. And now the Ron Miles Quartet's Laughing Barrel, a perfect soul-soothing/soul energizing follow-up to last year's Heaven, with guitarist Bill Frisell. ...read more
Trumpeter Ron Miles is a bit of jazz anomaly, in that he has taken to shunning the urban genres of jazz. His recent releases are all about wide-open spaces and Americana. Nowhere is this better heard than on his Sterling Circle debut, Heaven (Sterling Circle SCS 151, 2002). On this record from last year, Miles dueted with guitarist Bill Frisell, giving a quaint, homespun touch to original efforts as well as earthen treatments of Dylan’s "A Hard Rain’s A gonna Fall" and Hank Williams (the only ONE) "Your Cheatin’ Heart." The pair extended that same touch to "Stompin’ At the ...read more
The concept of jazz has seemingly always been an urban phenomenon. From Louis Armstrong’s move to Chicago to the post-war Charlie Parker revolution--and more recently, Wynton Marsalis’ uptown vs. downtown music debate--jazz concepts and jazz sounds have traditionally gravitated toward cities.
But inside jazz itself, traditions are continuously rewritten. As the music has spread across the non-urban country, sometimes through academia, the metropolitan effect is felt less and the diversity of folk, rock, Latin, Asian, and well, insert your favorite music, are assimilated into jazz making.
Trumpeter Ron Miles, a native of Denver, Colorado, ...read more
You would not typically pair a trumpeter and guitarist in a jazz setting. Come to think of it, they aren’t typically paired in any other musical setting. Maybe that’s why these duets by Ron Miles and Bill Frisell are so refreshing.
Heaven is trumpeter Ron Miles’ fourth release as a leader and third collaboration with guitarist Bill Frisell. Miles joined Frisell on his recording Quartet from 1996 and the guitarist sat in on Miles’ 1997 Gramavision outing Woman’s Day. Bill Frisell of late seems to be gravitating towards kindred spirits, gentle souls sans the big city vision-thing.read more
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 ...read more
Simply put: Trumpet and guitar. Horn man Ron Miles tries a duet this time out, and he picked his partner well: the high-profile and hugely talented Bill Frisell Heaven is a delicately rendered set of songs, highlighting the strengths of the two players. Ron Miles has a breathy, very lyrical approach to the trumpet; his six originals here have memorable, straightforward melodies that seem to cry out for words.Bill Frisell--whom Miles has worked with--is a perfect accompanist for for the soft trumpet sound. His accoustic talent is subtle and nuanced, versatile as it can be.read more
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