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Circuit Rider Trio

with Ron Miles, Bill Frisell and Brian Blade

October 27, 2018 | 8:00 pm

- $35 – $40
Lewis & Clark College’s Agnes Flanagan Chapel

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Named after the title of its second album, Circuit Rider features the trio’s founder, cornetist Ron Miles, guitarist Bill Frisell, and drummer Brian Blade. A logical evolution from the debut album Quiver (2012), Circuit Rider (2014) epitomizes Miles’ signature lyricism and spiritually aware compositions. The group’s repertoire spans American folk traditions and vibrant gospel infused with progressive jazz forms. Confident, elegant, and never overstated, Miles hits just the right balance of grace and rhythm as he quietly makes his mark as a cornetist, composer, and storyteller. His unique lustrous timbre and poignant harmonic sensibility make Ron Miles not only a leading light in the Denver jazz scene but a sought-after collaborator by artists such as Frisell, Ginger Baker, Madeleine Peyroux, Don Byron, Myra Melford, Ben Goldberg, The Bad Plus, Jason Moran, and Joshua Redman. Their debut Portland performance is only one of three west coast appearances and not to be missed!

“I like to think that musicians are the messengers of today,” explains Ron Miles. Known for writing songs that possess religious overtones, Miles embarked on this new album with the Circuit Riders of old serving as his inspiration. The Circuit Riders, traveling clergy who took the gospel to remote corners of America’s frontier on horseback beginning 250 years ago, were forerunners in their day. According to Miles, Circuit Rider is a post-modern nod to these leaders who lived for a cause greater than themselves. “We, as musicians, are traveling Circuit Riders preaching every day at any place available and are always on the move.”

Comprising five original compositions on this eight-track disc, Circuit Rider marks the first time Miles recorded an album with the same group twice. This time around, Miles could hear the band in the songwriting process. “We discovered songs together,” says Miles. “Their astounding capacity for playing impacted how I approached the music. When you have musicians as perceptive and responsive as Bill Frisell and Brian Blade, the music just takes off!” Like its predecessor Quiver, Circuit Rider also showcases a selection of carefully chosen cover songs. Synthesizing the past are rearrangements of Jimmy Giuffre’s “Two Kinds of Blues,” as well as both “Jive Five Floor Four,” and “Reincarnation Of A Lovebird” by the trio’s hero Charles Mingus. Sharing a fondness for striking melody, musical economy, and the importance of individual timbre,
these three genre defying musical masters are highly respected leaders with expansive discographies and projects covering a wide spectrum of contemporary music. Their collective playing reflects the landscape that is implicit in Circuit Rider; all three giving a certain folk-like context to Ron’s original compositions. Denver-based Ron Miles and Denver-raised Bill Frisell (a partnership that dates back to the mid-90s) both exude the Old West, while Brian Blade’s breezy sophistication and jagged rhythms salute his native Louisiana.