Importance of live shows infects Jason Miles, Global Noize | AspenTimes.com

Importance of live shows infects Jason Miles, Global Noize

Stewart OksenhornThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE It was November 2001 when Jason Miles realized his world had been rocked. And though Miles was a New York City native, and this insight came to him at a benefit concert for the victims of 9/11, this realization had little to do with the events of two months earlier.During rehearsal for the benefit at New Yorks Beacon Theatre, Miles, the shows music director, noticed a crowd begin to form around someone. Upon investigation, he found that it wasnt a person causing the commotion, but a thing a palm-sized device that was going to change life for virtually everyone in the music world.The machine, of course, was an iPod.Im pretty good at being perceptive, ahead of the curve, Miles said. I said, This will change everything. And I asked, What did I have to do to change?A Brooklyn native, Miles had spent time as a top studio keyboardist, then as a full-time producer, where his specialty had been putting together CD tributes to the likes of Weather Report and Grover Washington. But, with the arrival of the digital age, he saw that recorded music was about to be drastically devalued.Now, we get music out of thin air, and we can have 15,000 songs. But are the songs so important anymore? he asked. I realized I needed to take everything I had been doing, and learn to reproduce it live. I think playing live now is very important.It took a few years, and one of the most miserable weeks of his life, but Miles finally found his avenue to becoming a live player. In October 2006, Miles experienced the death of his aunt, in less than ideal circumstances; the news that his friend, saxophonist Michael Brecker, was diagnosed with full-blown leukemia; the collapse of a promising music project; and a root canal. In the midst of it all, he got a call from another collaborator, turntablist DJ Logic, asked him to play a gig. That night. At 1 a.m. At the Blue Note in Manhattan, 50 miles away from Miles upstate home.And my wife said, Youre doing it! Miles recalled. I said, this could be a tonic.After the show of more or less completely improvised music, Miles asked his wife what she thought of the show. I knew shes tell me one of two things: either that we were amazing, or we sucked, he said. She loved it, and after Miles returned to that nights tapes, he was convinced that the music deserved continued life.A few months later, Miles and Logic shared another stage, playing a project of Miles devoted to the music of Marvin Gaye. This time, the setting was a world away in Morocco. Miles was so inspired by the foreignness that he arranged to stay another week, in Marrakech. The souk, snake charmers and stuff. It was a total mind-blower, he said.Thus was born the idea for Global Noize, the first touring project Miles has put together after several decades of playing music. The group has played three festival dates, including at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It kicks off its first tour with a set Thursday at the Labor Day Festival.Global Noize released its self-titled debut in April. The album, featuring saxophonist Karl Denson, Blues Travelers John Popper, drummer Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood and others, mixes funk, jazz and hip-hop with a dash of North African melodies. The touring band doesnt lack for big names; the lineup includes keyboardist Bernie Worrell from P-Funk and drummer Mike Clark of the Headhunters with Miles and Logic. The group is rounded out by bassist Ron Johnson, Indian vocalist Falu, and saxophonist Jay Rodriguez.Miles says Global Noize is intended to appeal to all age groups and cultures. Anybody can dig this album. Its supposed to spread all around the globe. Herb Alperts on the record! he said. But he also noted that the music was meant to be challenging as well.We go through different weaves and bobs to find the groove like Weather Report, or Herbie Hancock, Miles said, noting that the upcoming tour will be his first journey through the hippie-oriented club world. There are times when it is really edgy.I couldnt get guys who played smooth jazz. I needed people who understood the edge.stewart@aspentimes.com

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