127

Ron Miles Quartet: Laughing Barrel

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ron Miles Quartet: Laughing Barrel 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, has been playing jazz on his own terms—creating his own language—for quite a while. Like the Iowan Charlie Haden or West Coaster Bill Frisell, Miles’ music can have an urban sound; it just doesn’t start there. His latest outing, the quartet recording Laughing Barrel, follows up his duo session Heaven with Bill Frisell (Sterling Circle, 2002).

Where Heaven projected a relaxed atmosphere, this disc picks up the intensity. Miles’ Quartet includes the Hendrix-meets-jazz guitarist Brandon Ross (Cassandra Wilson, Harriet Tubman, Henry Threadgill), drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Anthony Cox (John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Bobby Previte)—all of whom are equally comfortable tearing it up or playing unplugged. On Laughing Barrel the quartet does a bit of both.

The disc opens with his signature earthy sounding “Parade” that showcases Miles’ lyrical trumpet playing. Throughout this recording, Miles creates music that draws listeners in from backgrounds other than jazz. Like the tune “Sunday Best,” with Ross switching to acoustic guitar and Royston handling brushes, Miles finds the swing in folk music. Same with “Psychedelic Black Man,” where hippie beats power Ross’ space guitar wah-wahs, there’s Miles maintaining his sweet tone as if to say this jazz boat has room enough for all. As a working quartet these players have the room to stretch Miles’ compositions. Miles’ nod to post-bop, “New Breed Leader,” has the band cooking through some classical bop changes and Miles showing off his best Freddie Hubbard playing, before Ross takes a searing jazz-meets-messy-rock solo. On “Jesus Loves Me,” an extended blues, the melancholy tone that begins the track finds resolution in determined muscle.

Maybe Laughing Barrel was made for rural America, but I bet our friends with concrete front lawns can dig it too.

Sterling Circle Records


Track Listing: Parade; New Breed Leader; Psychedelic Black Man; Still Small Voice; Jesus Loves Me; Sunday Best; Fairy Court.

Personnel: Ron Miles

Title: Laughing Barrel | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Sterling Circle


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Hudson" CD/LP/Track Review Hudson
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Alpha Nebula Expanded: The Monster Peace
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Goat Man & The House of the Dead" CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 11, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.