Denver-based jazz artist Ron Miles died Tuesday. According to Hans Wendl, his longtime manager, the cause was complications from Polycythemia vera, a rare blood disorder. Miles was only 58 years old. The Colorado Sound’s morning show host Ron wrote this appreciation.
Jazz music has been a part of my life since I was very, very young. My dad was a big Stan Kenton fan and would play jazz records on Saturday mornings, while my mom was out shopping. Some of his record collection is now mine. Wes Montgomery led me to Pat Metheny. Teddy Wilson led me to Chick Corea. Being involved in Colorado music for a long time led me to Ron Miles.
His trumpet and cornet playing took Miles Davis and reshaped those sounds for today. And in a gentle way. In his honor, this morning on the Colorado Sound I played “Queen of the South” from his 2020 album Rainbow Sign. Fellow East High School (Denver) grad Bill Frisell plays guitar on the album.
If you don’t know Ron’s music and story, you can get a quick introduction from his Colorado Music Hall Of Fame induction video, posted at the top of this page (and also on the Colorado Music Experience website).
Blue Note Records profile of the late Ron Miles: “He was a sweet, soulful man whose character was reflected in every exquisite note he played.” – Don Was
NPR Music tribute to Ron Miles: “Miles had a warm and perfectly centered sound on cornet, with barely a trace of ferocity or flash. Through his playing, he could create the sensation of something both sturdy and precious.” – Nate Chinen