Ron Miles: Singing Through The Horn

Set List

Unconditional (Miles)

Criss Cross (Thelonious Monk)

Glass Jaw (Miles)

Marionetta / Julia (Lennon / McCartney)

Bruised (Mile)

Personnel

Ron Miles, trumpet

Bill Frisell, guitar

Reginald Veal, bass

Matt Wilson, drums

Ron Miles 300 i i

Early in his career, trumpeter Ron Miles sent a cassette tape to Bill Frisell, hoping for an invitation to play with the legendary guitarist. Zak Szyszko hide caption

itoggle caption Zak Szyszko
Ron Miles 300

Early in his career, trumpeter Ron Miles sent a cassette tape to Bill Frisell, hoping for an invitation to play with the legendary guitarist.

Zak Szyszko

Ron Miles plays a one-of-a-kind, brushed gold Monette trumpet in G, not the conventional B-flat horn used by most players. He says the sound is a little deeper, and the pitch difference makes playing the horn more than a little challenging. But talk about grace and control: Ron Miles sings through his horn. In a concert at the Jazz Standard in New York City, Miles leads an all-star group featuring legendary guitarist Bill Frisell.

Miles prefers to be part of the band, rather than ride on top, and the current Wayne Shorter Quartet serves as his model. He says he wants to move the music around the group, to extend and vary the melody as long as possible.

Miles and guitarist Frisell are the heart of the unit, and though a decade apart, the two share another connection: Both attended Denver East High School. After Frisell started his great career, a young Ron Miles — who had just graduated from college — heard Frisell's music and fell in love. He sent a cassette to the guitarist with the message "I like your work, here's some of mine." Time passed and one day in his car, Frisell heard a standout trumpet player on the radio and recognized him from the cassette. Since the mid 1990s, the two have developed a close musical partnership, recording several albums together. You can hear the mutual respect on the bandstand: a careful dialogue of musical voices interacting through recurring modulations and sturdy rock grooves.

With Frisell playing his baby blue Telecaster, the audience listens intently, not afraid to be quiet. Reginald Veal, originally from Atlanta, borrowed a bass because traveling with one is difficult these days. Matt Wilson drove in from Long Island with his Craviatto drumset, including a beautiful brass-shelled snare. These beautiful custom instruments, designed by highly skilled and specialized craftsmen, add a delicate tone to the music, with their subtle timbres allowing the musicians a unique freedom of expression.

At the end of The Beatles' classic "Julia," Wilson's finger snaps are the last sound, then applause.

Credits: Thanks to Seth Abramson, Zak Szyszko, Martin Goodman and all at the Jazz Standard, JazzSet's home in New York City. Josh Webb and Yujin Cha assisted Technical Director and Surround Sound re-mixer Duke Markos. Our engineer in Las Vegas is Ginger Bruner of KUNV.

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