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MSU Denver faculty and co-director of Jazz Studies, Ron Miles.

“You have to not be afraid to fail”

Longtime professor and co-director of Jazz Studies Ron Miles on creativity, community – and Kendrick Lamar.

April 20, 2018

By Cory Phare

Ron Miles is a musical icon – but you won’t hear him say that.

The understated Roadrunner educator has been inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and appeared on year-end best-of lists of the New York TimesNational Public Radio and countless others.

But he would rather talk about the role of mentorship in mastering a craft. Or the lessons that Langston Hughes and Kendrick Lamar can teach us about contemporary society, applied through the lens of music.

These critical conversations can be found musically throughout Miles’ lauded most recent album, “I Am a Man,” inspired by the Memphis sanitation-worker strike of 1968 that subsequently brought the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the city where he was later assassinated.

Take a listen to our conversation on inspiration and collaboration with the Colorado jazz legend as part of our Coffee Break podcast series.


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