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Master of dissonance

My Cruel Heart
My Cruel Heart
By Ron Miles

Gramavision Records: 1996

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This review first appeared in the September 20, 1996 issue of the North County Times.

Combining hard bop with heavy metal, jazz trumpeter Ron Miles' new album opens with a veritable audio onslaught. While the album sometimes slows down from the three-guitar attack of "Finger Palace" to a somewhat more sedate pace on later songs, that initial attitude of musical aggression never lets up, instead transforming itself at times from the frenetic rhythms to an equally hard-edged dissonance. It's a bit like combining Tony Williams' Lifetime with the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Miles' thoughtful, avant garde trumpet leads are laid atop to dissonant free jazz of his larger band – almost like two songs being played at the same time.

Easy listening? Not here. But the effort required to appreciate Miles' latest album is worth it if you have the inclination to be challenged.