Ron Miles, Quiver
One drawback of the New York-centric jazz world (and I say this as a New Yorker) is that musicians who live elsewhere too often go ignored. Oral histories are full of tales about some tenor saxophonist in Mississippi, or a guitarist in Nevada, who influenced someone who influenced everyone else. And so you should definitely check out the Denver trumpeter Ron Miles’ riveting new CD, Quiver (on the Enja label).
This is a trio album as oddball as its name, with Bill Frisell on electric guitar and Brian Blade on drums: no piano, no bass, no other horns. You’d expect it to sound threadbare; it’s not. Or when things veer in that direction, Frisell knows just when to segue from single-line counterpoint to warm-strummed chords, as does Blade from edge-skating polyrhythms to cymbal-tapping 4/4. Rarely has Frisell been so tight and attuned as a sideman; Blade, best known for his work in Wayne Shorter’s quartet, is as on-target as he always is.
Miles has recorded several times with Frisell, and Frisell with Blade, but I don’t think the three have played all together before. Miles has also been on albums led by Jenny Scheinman, Ben Allison, and Wayne Horvitz. In all the bands he’s sat in with, he sounds like he’s a regular. There’s a clairvoyance in his interplay.
On Quiver, he plays standards, bluegrass, and the hint of avant, blowing throughout with a golden, clarion tone and a sense for phrasing that’s at once playful and intricate.
Some of the tracks were recorded at a club, some in a studio, all by Colin Bricker, whose name I don’t know, though I should. There’s an intimacy to these sessions; the instruments are vivid and natural. This is an extremely likeable recording.