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The Gig: A Miles Less Traveled

Not quite six months ago, the guitarist Bill Frisell set up shop at the Village Vanguard for a two-week run with a quintet. The trumpeter in the band was Ron Miles, a Frisell collaborator on and off for roughly the past 10 years. On one of the only nights that he wasn’t committed to playing the Vanguard, Miles led his own group just across the East River at Zebulon, a bohemian little café in a dark patch of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Prior obligations prevented me from catching that one-nighter, a fact that dismayed me then and still irks me now. I was interested to see what the trumpeter would do on his night off, after a full week of immersion in Frisell’s tonal world. And I was sorry to miss one of the rare occasions on which Miles, who lives in Denver, Co., headlined a gig of any sort in New York City.

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Originally Published
Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen

Nate Chinen is the director of editorial content for WBGO and a longtime contributor to JazzTimes, which published 125 installments of his column “The Gig” between 2004 and 2017. For 12 years, he was a critic for The New York Times; prior to that, he wrote about jazz for the Village Voice, the Philadelphia City Paper, and several other publications. He is the author of Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century (2018) and the co-author of George Wein’s autobiography Myself Among Others: A Life in Music (2003).