lunedì 16 gennaio 2012

Intervista a Ron Miles

Sul blog del quotidiano Ottawa Citizen è stata pubblicata una intervista al trombettista Ron Miles, noto soprattutto per la sua lunga collaborazione con Bill Frisell.

Ecco un estratto della lunga intervista:
If we could go back… I’d like to know about the origins of things that are fundamental to you. First, when did music enter into your life? And then, when did the trumpet enter your life?
Music was certainly all around the house when I was growing up. My parents don’t play instruments professionally, but you know, I would always go down to the basement, and I remember seeing albums like Drums Unlimited by Max Roach, and Kind of Blue, Sarah Vaughan records, and stuff, and just looking at the covers.
I remember the summer before sixth grade, my mom, who taught school during the summer, just needed to get me and my sister who was closest in age to me to do something during the summer so she could teach. And so she enrolled us in band, and I just picked the trumpet mostly because it was shiny. My sister picked the clarinet.
And then after that, honestly, early on, it was just my folks wouldn’t let me quit, because I would have quit every day because I was so terrible.
The trumpet’s a hard instrument.
Yeah, and, you know, I was an asthmatic kid, and eventually I got braces in middle school.. I was like last chair [in the band], like, all the time. They just made me keep going.
Eventually, teachers started to hip me to some music. These records, they were saying you should check that out. And I did.
In the ’70s, which is when I started playing, Maynard Ferguson was on the radio and Chuck Mangione [too]. So you would hear music that related to what you were doing, in popular culture. It started to strike a chord.
It [band] was just a place where eventually I felt I could belong, and feel accepted and also just be a part of something. That what band turned out to be for me.
Eventually, I started to get better and people started to say, “Hey, I think you can do this.” But even when I went to college, I kind of hedged my bets. I was a double major in electrical engineering and music. I remember, in my second year, one of the teachers, Ron Jolly, who was a great mentor to me in college, he said. “You could do this if you wanted to.” It was like, Really, you think? “Yeah, you can really play, You’re talented.” So I talked to my folks. They said, “Yeah, if you want to do that…” So I dropped the electrical engineering and went all in. It was all music from that point on.
When was it about jazz and improvising that struck you?
I remember, when I was into Maynard, one of my teachers said, “Maynard’s great and everything, but you should check out this record.” He gave me this record, Diana Jams with Clifford Brown and Clark Terry and Max and Maynard, and it was quite an eye-opener. It was like, “Oh that’s what he’s talking about!” Clifford Brown and Clark Terry! Maynard sounds great on that, don’t get me wrong. But it was like, “Oh OK, I kind of get what you mean.” Soon after that, I heard Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall.
I’d get all these old Downbeats, and I used to ride the bus all over Denver looking for records and Downbeat magazines…and this guy Wayne Shorter played with Miles Davis and he played with Maynard and Joe Zawinul and then I got Weather Report… Then it just started going. Art Ensemble. John Coltrane. I was in at that point.
And then it really dawned on me — this was a way to express yourself in a really creative way. The way that these people were expressing themselves struck a chord with me. Then I was way in there.
I was playing a lot of classical music too. I was listening to a lot of contemporary music 20th century music, Webern, and it all just really spoke to me. I felt like this is a place I can make a contribution in a way. I don’t know if I was thinking about it in quite such glorious terms, at that point, but looking back I can kind of see that.
How did you come to spend a year in New York in the mid-1980s? What happened while you were there?
When I was doing my undergraduate here in Denver, I won this classical trumpet competition. I went to Manhattan School of Music as a classical trumpet major for a year.
I played in the jazz band there, and worked with Bob Mintzer and with Ray Mase of the American Brass Quintet, and I was able to take lessons with Lester Bowie and Jane Ira Bloom and hear Cecil Taylor and all my heroes, like Ronald Shannon Jackson. It was really quite an eye-opener to get to hear these people in person, to sit next to Lester Bowie, and to hear that sound I heard on Nice Guys and Full Force, was just like, “Wow.” And these guys were so supportive, Jane and everybody, They were like, “You really have something. You should pursue this.”
At that time, it was a different environment. There were labels signing young guys and all that kind of stuff. It seemed like it was a different world than it is now.
But it helped. And being from Denver, or a small place, you wonder how it worked in these bigger places. So when I went there and people were supportive, it was like, “No, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you have something, people are going to notice it.” It helped me come back here to Denver and put together a band and see about trying to develop some music.
I also found that when I was in New York, my heroes didn’t play in New York that much, either. Cecil played there once, Lester played maybe once that whole year. It wasn’t like the avant-garde people were tearing up the clubs. It was still an underground music. So putting together a band from my home town seemed like a way to go about it.
Did you consider yourself an avant-gardist then?
Certainly, especially at that point, that was all I listened to. I hardly listened to what would be considered kind of mainstream music. Art Ensemble was my favourite band, Ronald Shannon Jackson’s band at that time, the kind of Black Rock Coalition, I guess, yeah, to a large degree, I did.
Even when I played here, I played in this group, the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble. It was my primary outlet here and we did lots of Leo Smith’s music and Anthony Braxton’s music and of course, the music of the leader, Fred Hess. So yeah, I really did to a large degree identify myself more with that group of folks.
Eventually I stated to broaden out. Eventually I started to go way back to check out Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver and Louis Armstrong… and all that stuff. But at that point, I was wasn’t really doing that so much.
Does the term avant-garde apply to you now?
Those are still my primary heroes, Albert Ayler, all those folks…That’s really what I find myself listening to a lot. My music has changed a lot, but  I really consider myself part of that stream.
Now, I think of myself primarily as a song writer. I write songs and I have an approach to improvising that’s very much like the songs I write. I try to think of the song never stopping. The song continues as long as you can get it going, so it’s really blurred, the line between composition and improvisation.....
(continua a leggere l'intervista sul sito originale)

Ecco un video del quartetto di Ron Miles che presenta una versione di Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power) al Bob Dylan Birthday Jam nel campus della University of Colorado:

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento