Ron Miles Quintet
Featuring Brian Blade, Bill Frisell, Jason Moran & Thomas Morgan
Undisputedly one of the finest, most expressive cornetists and trumpeters of his generation, “Ron Miles connects African American blues and gospel roots to the tangled branches of contemporary genre-bending jazz with rare perceptiveness,” The Guardian wrote when I Am a Man was released in 2017.
On that landmark album, Miles upgraded his existing trio—featuring two equally esteemed peers, drummer Brian Blade and guitarist Bill Frisell—with charismatic pianist Jason Moran and thoughtful bassist Thomas Morgan. Together, they imbued music of melodic immediacy and uncanny depth with a clarion statement of Black humanity and individuality. (The album took its title from an iconic civil-rights movement protest sign.) In its rave review, All About Jazz noted that I Am a Man all at once “exist[s] as a mark of musical pride and dignity, a statement driven by social activism, a history-propelled piece of art, and an album that challenges and unites.”
In 2020, the quintet reconvened on Miles’s Blue Note debut, Rainbow Sign, which is gently woven around the contemporaneous passing of his father. The London Times called it “beguiling” in a four-star review, while NPR’s Kevin Whitehead heard pop hooks in the quintet’s edgeless virtuosity. With such an overflowing reservoir to draw from, the meeting of these preternatural improvisers at Big Ears is not to be missed.