In Memoriam|

Photo: Ron Miles’ hands (photographer unknown – tell us who, please) Chris Daniels on Facebook, 3/11/22: Like so many, I am in shock and sadness at the loss of my friend Ron Miles. Not only was he one of the most gifted musicians I ever met, he was a mentor and leader and – a kind smile in the hallway at the University I saw almost everyday. We would talk for a moment between classes – and wish each other well – and then sure enough there he would be a day or so later – arms full of papers and music and we would chat again – I loved those moments with him.

Working with Ron was a dream. I was honored to have him play on Hazel Miller’s “Icons” album that I produced and we also played together a few times at CU Denver for various events. It was like sailing – so lyrical – and deep at the same time.

When Ron was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame I was there. We talked and laughed and I congratulated him. There is a photograph that our photographer took of Ron’s hands – the hands of a musician – reading through the music. You can feel in this picture the beauty of his soul – reading through the notes, finding the places where he could bring his gift to the performance with his friend and collaborator Bill Frisell. It’s there in the lilt of his hands. I was honored to work with John March on creating a film that honored Ron for the CMHOF.

But it is those moments in the hallway when we would talk – sometimes for just a moment, other times for a long chat. It’s those moments with my friend that I miss the most.

Ron Miles was an icon here in Denver and in the world of Jazz. A Grammy nominated cornetist, composer, and bandleader – and a brilliant educator and mentor to so many students – the numbers are impossible to guess. And his music – well my words are just not good enough – here is what others said:

“If you played a Ron Miles song right, in the best of moods you’d be crying,” pianist Jason Moran tells NPR. “Because the songs were full. I equate it to the way John Coltrane made ‘Lonnie’s Lament.’ He knew how to find the joy in a melody, and he knew where the heart was in it. Even just in the moment of playing them, it would just rush over you. A lot of music we play doesn’t have that, it just doesn’t.”

I was so lucky, I got to know Ron, to play with him and to share the joy of teaching. There are a ton of wonderful pictures of Ron and his glorious smile. But I love this one of his hands. A musicians’ hands. Thank you Ron…for everything. The song he played that night was “What The World Needs Now, Is Love Sweet Love.” That is the music he is reviewing. And boy, oh boy, did he bring that to this troubled old planet.

Big hugs ~ CD

[Chris gave us permission to re-post his tribute. Thank you, Chris. ~ Barb]

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