From his groundbreaking synth programming on Miles Davis’ 80s masterpieces “Tutu“, “Music From Siesta” and “Amandla” to his current projects “Global Noize” and “Kind of New”, the Grammy Award winning New York native has consistently brought the highest level of artistry to his multi-faceted recordings (as both producer and artist) and live performances. Jason Miles has not only helped shape the landscape of contemporary jazz, but also brought his rich sonic textures as a keyboardist, arranger and producer to artists in a multitude of genres, from R&B/pop to Latin Jazz, Brazilian music and even children’s music and country (producing Suzy Boguss’ “Sweet Danger“).
His many years of collaboration with Marcus Miller include not only the Miles Davis projects but also classic recordings by David Sanborn (“A Change of Heart”, “Close Up”, “Upfront”) and Luther Vandross (“The Power of Love”, “Any Love”, “Give Me the Reason”). Committed to pushing the envelope of sonic possibilities and bringing out the best in the artists and musicians he vibes with, Miles has worked over the years with a proverbial who’s who of contemporary music: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Michael Brecker, The Crusaders, Ruben Blades, Freddy Cole, George Benson, Joe Sample, Herb Alpert, Vanessa Williams, Grover Washington Jr. and many more.
Jason Miles has made two very successful tribute albums dedicated to the late sax legend Grover Washington Jr. (for whom did the synth programming on his 1987 album “Strawberry Moon“). “To Grover With Love” (2000 – Artistry Music) sold in excess of 125,000 copies and his follow up “2 Grover With Love” (2008 – E1 Entertainment) made many Top 10 lists in various publications. In 2010 Jason, along with Grover’s wife Christine, produced and executive produced “Grover Live – Grover Washington Jr Live at the Paramount Center For The Arts”, a live show recorded in 1997 in Peekskill, New York, that was an immediate hit showcasing Grover and his band at the height of his brilliant creative powers. It was Washington’s first release in over ten years and his first live recording in 33 years. Miles’ tireless work in bringing this recording to the public – thereby introducing the power of Washington’s music to a new generation of contemporary jazz listeners – is reflective of his commitment to keeping the great music of the past alive while keeping his eye on and exploring exciting future possibilities. Jason Miles currently performs a show titled “To Grover With Love – Celebrating the Music of Grover Washington Jr.”. Some of the songs featured in the show are “Winelight”, “Just the Two of Us”, “Inner City Blues”, “Let it Flow”, “Mr Magic”, “In the Name of Love”, “Sassy Stew”, “Take Me There” and “Moonstreams”.
Back in the year 2000, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Weather Report’s formation, Jason Miles produced the #1 album “Celebrating the music of Weather Report”, featuring an all-star cast including Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Victor Bailey, Omar Hakim, Joe Sample, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, Dennis Chambers and many others. Jason managed to remain true to the original music, while updating and opening up the arrangements. The album offered a bevy of delights to remind old-time Weather Report fans of the band’s greatness and helped introduce a new generation of listeners to this superb music, enticing them to check out the originals. In 2017 Jason decided to take “Celebrating the Music of Weather Report” project on the road, and he’s getting rave reviews. John Ernesto, the General Manager of the Berks Jazz Fest, said: “The Celebrating the Music of Weather Report was a highlight of the 2017 Berks Jazz Fest. Under the direction of Jason Miles, the sold-out concert featured an all-star ensemble that delivered a memorable performance that would have made Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and company proud.” Most recently, on Saturday October 21st 2017, Jason Miles’ “Celebrating the Music of Weather Report” featuring Jeff Coffin & Carter Beauford (of the Dave Matthews Band), Philip Dizack, Shaun Martin (of Snarky Puppy), Mino Cinelu (percussion), Gerald Veasley (bass) & Karen Briggs (violin), performed at the Clearwater Jazz Festival (http://www.clearwaterjazz.com/festival-info/), opening for Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. Jason Miles’ band got a standing ovation! For the festivals in 2018 Jason has a great pool of talent that he can pick from.
In 2008, “Global Noize“, Miles’ group formed around his partnership with DJ Logic, released its self-titled debut and performed at Berks and later at Jazz Fest in New Orleans; the live show included musicians from across the spectrum, including Christian Scott, John Popper, Bernie Worrell, Me’Shell Ndgeocello, Billy Martin, Suphala, Cyro Baptista and James Genus. Hailed by All Music Guide as “the 2000’s equivalent to the way “Weather Report” and “Return to Forever” drove the spirit of jazz fusion in the 70’s”, Global Noize – driven in part by Miles’ expansive, socially conscious vision – creates a boundary breaking, freewheeling swirl of jazz, funk, electronic, world fusion and blues that’s all at once grounded, trippy and sensual, and – with the ethereal vocals of Falu – also transcendent and spiritual. His latest album with “Global Noize” was called “Sly Reimagined” which mixed the legendary music of “Sly and the Family Stone” with 21st century grooves, It featured Roberta Flack, Nona Hendryx and original Family Stone drummer Greg Errico. It was named “Best contemporary jazz album of 2014” by Jazziz magazine.
“Kind of New” is Miles’ most recent project. Inspired by Miles Davis’ “Cellar Door” sessions, it offers a journey into the Future of Jazz by creating a new vibe that mixes electric/acoustic grooves with virtuistic performances and infectious melodies. On the album Jason is joined by Ingrid Jensen, Jay Rodriguez, James Genus, Jeff Coffin, Adam Dorn, Amanda Ruzza, Steve Wolf, Jon Wikan, Nir Felder, Cyro Baptista, Mike Clark and Jerry Brooks. It has been getting accolades from all over the world and the live performance has been leaving audiences wanting more.
Jason continues to produce artists for the future and bringing his experience to another generation of artists and musicians. He recently taught a semester at the prestigious The New School in NYC and brought the awareness of Electric Miles Davis to students who were amazed by the depth of his knowledge and work.
Looking back on his fascinating, far-reaching career, Miles says, “I’ve learned so much from the great players I have been fortunate enough to work with and they have made me a much better musician and person”, he adds. “I’m always thinking about the listeners and the audience and how important it is to bring them something special that can make a difference in their lives. The industry has presented its challenges along the way, but there has been so much beauty among the disappointment. All I ever wanted was a chance to play music and make a living at it, and I’m grateful to have had these rich experiences, surrounded by so many talented and loving people. I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.”
This last decade alone, Jason has performed at many great festivals and stages around the world: Cape Town Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Jazz Aspen, Umbria Jazz, North Sea Jazz, Jacksonville Jazz Fest, Jazz Fest Nola, Rio Das Ostras in Brazil, Tokyo Blue Note, Blue Note NYC and the Highline Ballroom to name a few.