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MSU Denver Director of Jazz Studies makes top albums lists

Ron Miles’ new album, “I Am a Man,” was released Nov. 3 on Yellowbird Records.

By Ariel Peele

January 4, 2018

MSU Denver jazz professor Ron MilesOn lists that include the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde and Drake, you will find Ron Miles, whose 2017 album “I Am a Man” was listed among the best of 2017 by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

Miles, director of MSU Denver’s Jazz Studies program, was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in November.

In his new album, Miles and his quintet “meditate on experiences of disappointment, discrimination and transcendence,” wrote New York Times jazz critic Giovanni Russonello. “He and the band sound loose and warm and free, as if unburdened by the reckoning.”

NPR’s Morning Edition included “I Am A Man” in its 2017 best albums list. They quoted Nate Chinen of WBGO Radio saying, “Ron Miles is just a beautiful musician; he’s someone with this tone that’s like liquid gold.”

The Los Angeles Times’ short list of jazz albums of the year also includes “I Am a Man.” Critic Chris Barton noted that the album is a “lushly drawn set inspired by civil rights history and social activism.”

Miles is known for his original recordings and his performances with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Ginger Baker, the Bill Frisell Quartet and many others.

Miles is also the subject of a new short documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Mimi Chakarova, titled “I Am a Man.” The film follows him and his bandmates Jason Moran, Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan and Brian Blade as they rehearse and record at Mighty Fine Productions in Denver.

Throughout the film, Miles offers insights into his music, his process and the role jazz plays in today’s world.

Miles’ album was released Nov. 3 on Yellowbird Records.

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