Telluride Jazz Fest: Miles Mosley, The Face Of Jazz 2.0

Miles Mosley and WCGD are appearing twice at the Telluride Jazz Fest, both times on Saturday, August 5: on the Main Stage at 6:10 p.m.; at the Sheridan Opera House at 10 p.m.

Tickets/passes to Telluride Jazz here.

Go here for the full Telluride Jazz line-up.

Scroll down to listen to a podcast featuring Miles Mosley.

On the subject of jazz, another Miles had this to say: “I never thought Jazz was meant to be a museum piece like other dead things once considered artistic.”

On the subject of life, that other Miles, Miles Davis, chimed in with this: “Music and life are all about style.”

Miles Mosley, who was named after Miles Davis, inhabits those words and lives them without borders.

For Mosley, jazz is no dinosaur; it is his soul and his inspiration.

And he is the face of its future.

“My parents listened to many different genres of music (from jazz to Motown to the Beach Boys to Joni Mitchell), that I was blessed with a rich musical foundation and knowledge. I decided to study jazz, because they were such huge jazz fans and I heard it playing every Sunday morning. I wanted to impress them by playing them their favorite bass lines like, ‘All Blues,’” he explained to AXS.

Further, in response to a question about any negative pushback from established jazz musicians:

“I haven’t heard anything negative about what we do from anybody who understands our objective.. Jazz is all-powerful,…There is no need to put up a fence for its protection. Jazz, as an idiom, is hungry for all the creative input it can get from other styles. It always has been, whether that be ‘Sketches of Spain’ or Nina Simone playing Beatles covers. Jazz always grows when every aspect of the current culture is placed into its grasp… Personally, my music at any given time can be jazz, soul, rock, or pop, or a blend of all. Although today’s industry wants you to pick a lane, I am the accumulation of an extensive jazz, classical, and pop education, and will always pay into each of those houses with equal respect and dedication…”

As for the style bit, this is how Telluride Jazz described Mosley:

“Wait until you see what this gentlemen does with an upright bass. Much as Jimi Hendrix reinvented what was possible with the electric guitar, Miles has refined how bass is played. In a word, he is an innovator. In addition to his playing, Moseley is a luminous figure in the Los Angeles music scene as a singer, composer and arranger… He is one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 10 Artists You Should Know…”

And you will get to know him if you attend the 37th annual Telluride Jazz Festival, where Miles Mosley is a headliner, performing with his group,The West Coast Get Down (WCGD), a collective of L.A.-based jazz artists. Look forward to hearing tracks from Mosley’s critically acclaimed new release, “Uprising.

Miles + the WCGD

“Young Lion” is the first track on Uprising. On it, Mosley announces himself to the world with a giant swagger:

“Thank God for me / Ain’t nothing been funky since ’73,”  Mosley intones over a foot-stomping, hollering track of Sly Stone-like gospel funk (AXS). “They don’t make brothers like me / A brand new heavy on the retro scene / And on four strings baby, I’m the king.” 

It ain’t bragging if you really are that good.

If you can pull off a signature black beanie with a carefree indifference.

Mosley’s solo album Uprising, featuring the West Coast Get Down, was released on Verve Records this year. Its first single “Abraham” was named one of NPR’s “Top 100 songs of 2016.”

The album received critical acclaim from publications such as The Los Angeles Times, who featured “Abraham” in their California Sounds section.

Uprising has received worldwide radio airplay, including BBC Radio and Apple Beats 1.

The album debuted at #4 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart, #10 on the Billboard Jazz album chart, and #2 on the iTunes Jazz Album charts.

“…Uprising could be classified as ‘quality pop’ as much as ‘jazz’. Yet jazz fans will find much to enjoy in its eleven tracks, in the way we enjoy work by Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Sting, with whom Mosley will inevitably be compared…,” said The London Times.

“This album bubbles over with fresh ideas, enthusiastically delivered, making you think this guy is on a photo finish with Jamie Cullum to be the best representative for making jazz accessible again,” said jazzweekly.com

“…On Uprising, the WCGD collective fulfills another mission: ‘to defy genre and combine musical influences to make jazz dangerous and exciting again, while paying tribute to the legends before them.’ Some of these legends include Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix, whose Southern soul and psychedelic rock are synthesized with jazz on nearly every track, along with message songs reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield…,” wrote blackgrooves.org

How does Mosley describe his uprising?

“…I want to revolutionize the upright bass. When I started this process, there were no ‘How To’ videos, there was nobody doing it. There was no reference point. I just kind of had to stand on an island by myself and believe there was something special to that instrument, tempered and modified in different ways. So now the two things meet in that I am choosing my sounds as the best expression of what I’m hearing musically while trying to push myself physically, and the instrument sonically to the limits… That is my uprising,” as he explained it all to capitalbop.com.

If Miles Mosley, a jazz bass virtuoso and musical prodigy, is an “assassin on the upright bass” as the LA Weekly suggests and ”the fallen angel of jazz” as another critic describes him that is because he and the Get Down play like hell – in the best sense.

To learn more, listen to Miles Mosley’s podcast.

More about Miles Mosley:

Miles Mosley is an upright bassist, vocalist, producer, composer and arranger.

As a teen, Mosley was selected to play bass for the Grammy All-American High School Jazz Band & Choir, and was acclaimed as a “technical virtuoso” by Los Angeles Times jazz critic, Don Heckman. He received his classical training at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, had years of study with jazz bass legends John Clayton, Ray Brown, and Al McKibbon, and received his undergraduate degree in music at UCLA. Since then Mosley has greatly expanded his repertoire, mastering the bass and a vast array of instruments, deftly blending Jazz with Rock, Pop, Funk, and R&B. Mosley has successfully combined bow work, effects, and ‘in-your-face’ dexterity to give his instrument his own signature sound.

The last few years have been the busiest of Mosley’s career. In the spring of 2017, he signed to Verve Records, one of the most celebrated and historic imprints. His album, Uprising, was released on Verve on May 19, 2017 to critical acclaim.

Mosley is a founding member and upright bass player for the acclaimed Los Angeles-based group, the West Coast Get Down (WCGD), a collaborative group of musicians born and raised in Los Angeles. Apart, they are some of the most sought after musicians in the world; together they are uninhibited innovators moving effortlessly through multiple genres of music.

In addition to performing and producing, Mosley is an accomplished composer, scoring for Film, TV and Video Games. His compositions have been used by numerous entertainment companies including DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, The Weinstein Company, Capcom and Activision.

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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