Bassist, composer, performer, and teacher Miles Brown is a versatile musician who has earned bachelor and doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music in jazz performance studies as well as a master’s degree from the Mannes College of Music in classical bass performance.
As a jazz performer, Miles has led groups featured at the Syracuse Jazz Festival, the Rochester International Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, and the Blue Note. He has played with jazz masters such as Sam Rivers, Joe Magnarelli, Ralph Alessi, Walt Weiskopf, Harold Danko, Bill Dobbins, Joe Lovano, Ben Monder, and Kenny Werner; and he has recorded on the Native Language, Leading Tone, and Yummy House labels.
Teaching is extremely important and rewarding to Miles. During the Spring 2008 semester, Miles served as the sabbatical replacement for Jeff Campbell, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music. Miles comes to Oakland University from Cornell University, where he served as the Gussman Director of Jazz during the 2008-9 school year. As Director and the only full-time faculty member of Cornell’s jazz program, Miles enjoyed organizing concerts and collaborating with guest artists such as Charlie Haden, Sam Rivers, and Steve Wilson. In April 2009, he organized the 18th Annual Cornell Jazz Festival. Guest artists included Chuck Israels, Todd Coolman, and Jeff Campbell, among others.
Miles has directed big bands, coached jazz combos, led methods classes and taught improvisation courses at Cornell University, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Rochester, Kings Park High School, and Signature Band Camp. While teaching, he shares his philosophy that learning about jazz must combine knowledge about past traditions as well as a drive to push music into new directions. Miles has also led master classes at Ohio University, Ithaca College, Duke University, Hamilton College, and the University of South Carolina.
Miles has a passion for new music and is the bassist in the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound. He has performed with this chamber ensemble in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebow, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Skirball Cultural Center, the World Financial Center, Russia’s Hermitage Theatre, and the Miller Theater at Columbia University, among others. As a performer of new music, Miles has recorded on labels such as Nonesuch Records and Cantaloupe Records.
Numerous ensembles have performed Miles’ compositions and arrangements. Alarm Will Sound has performed his compositions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. His music can also be heard on Native Language Records. Miles’ 2007 CD, titled Share My Life, contains many of his compositions. In July 2016, Miles released a CD of his own compositions entitled “Middle Game” featuring some of Metro Detroit’s best jazz musicians.
Miles is honored to serve as the Jazz Program Coordinator at Oakland University.