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Ron Miles Trio

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Album Review

Trumpeter Ron Miles joins forces with pianist Eric Gunnison and bassist Kent McLagen in this drummerless trio setting. The music, which takes on a life of its own, ranges from lovely and flowing to free-form and unpredictable. Miles has a stout tone, burnished by passion and informed by the wisdom of jazz predecessors like Art Farmer, Woody Shaw, and Freddie Hubbard. The first three pieces are extended compositions by Miles. The 11½-minute "Alarm" is a rather strident, processional waltz, on which sparse bass and urgent piano prompt seemingly endless melody lines. On the ten-minute "Bookworm," diffuse themes and insistent piano fuel Miles' flaming trumpet. The 19-minute "Darken My Door" acts as a three-part suite, starting with trumpet and piano crawling through green fields of romantic discourse, leading to a lengthy bass solo with piano and then trumpet; the final section is in 7/8 time and sports a Native American spirit. The other three pieces are more concise. The lone non-Miles composition, A.P. Carter's "Wildwood Flower," is a beautiful countryside rumination highlighted by Gunnison's tonal fronting. Miles plops in a mute for "Lullaby" as cascading piano and probing bass inform a relatively free-form concept, while the light, breezy waltz "Will You Marry Me?" features Gunnison's languid musings. This intriguing contrast between the tranquil and the engaging commands one's attention throughout. Recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

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