Music News

Critic's Choice

For an evening of intimate chamber jazz, Ron Miles (pictured) and Bill Frisell join forces as a trumpet/guitar duo on Friday, January 3, at the Old Main Chapel at the University of Colorado -- Boulder. Part of the ongoing Coalition for Creative Music series, this pairing of gentle souls promises cerebral, avant-garde and post-bop reinterpretations of the whole musical spectrum. They'll cover everything from the ragtime of Jelly Roll Morton ("King Porter Stomp") to the folk music of Hank Williams ("Your Cheatin' Heart") to the occasional Bob Dylan standard ("Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"). With their silky-sounding debut, Heaven, the pair christens Boulder's Sterling Circle label with honor and distinction, launching a unique collaboration that borrows its name from Miles's days with the Mercer Ellington band. A driving force behind Front Range acts, including Convergence and the Jazz W.O.R.M.S., Miles brings an enormously fluid lyricism to every musical project fortunate enough to have him. As Frisell puts it, "It seems like everything that is going on right now is either very conservative, or it rejects everything. Ron has found a way to include everything and not reject things and still be his own person." The admiration, no doubt, goes both ways. "I think we share a fondness for striking melody, patience and the importance of the individual timbre," Miles says of Frisell, a man who creates bizarre (and often humorous) sounds on his instrument. "The session itself was effortless, nothing forced. We just played." By creating a spacious atmosphere replete with elegance and a warm afterglow, this match was not only made in heaven, but it's innovative as hell.
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John La Briola