Denver trumpeter Ron Miles is much sought after for his unique sound and artistry by performers as diverse as Bill Frisell, Madeleine Peyroux, Don Byron, the Ellington Orchestra, and Fred Hess' Boulder Creative Music Ensemble. In addition to playing festivals and venues around the world, Ron is a staple of the Denver jazz scene as a player, bandleader, and as a music professor at the local Metropolitan State College.
Born in Indianapolis and a resident of Denver since the age of 11, he began playing the trumpet seriously in junior high school and studied music at the University of Denver (1981-1985) and the Manhattan School of Music (1986). Miles says that living in Denver has given him an appreciation for a broad array of musical styles that he might not have acquired elsewhere. “Country and Western music, Latin, jazz, and rock are all popular here, so you find yourself trying out a lot of ideas with other musicians and gaining a healthy respect for the music,” he explains.
Ron Miles was widely recognized as musical director and arranger of Ginger Baker’s Coward of the County (Atlantic, 1999). His compositions anchor that record and highlight the varied influences from which Ron draws inspiration. During the nineties, Ron also released a series of well-received albums on the Gramavision (My Cruel Heart, Woman’s Day) and Capri (Witness, Ron Miles Trio) labels.
Ron’s relationship with the Boulder-based Sterling Circle label began in 2002 with Heaven, an intimate recording of duets with friend and master jazz guitarist Bill Frisell. It showcases the chemistry of two brilliant improvisers in a variety of song settings, from originals to Jelly Roll Morton, Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan. According to Bill Frisell, "What is so exciting about Ron is that he really has his own voice. 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." Miles said of his playing with Bill, “I think we share a fondness for striking melody, patience and the importance of individual timbre.”
Heaven was followed by the quartet record Laughing Barrel (2003) and the double album Stone/Blossom (2006), featuring two different groups of some of Denver’s finest musicians. In addition to Miles originals, Blossom features covers of “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” by the Partridge Family and “I'll Be There” by The Jackson Five.
“Ron Miles is one of the finest trumpeters in jazz today. I can’t come up with a compelling reason why he should be anything other than a major name.” –Jazz Times
“Miles plays brilliantly, singing the melodies with a tone bright and vocalized, tinged with melancholy...” –Down Beat