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Jazz - Released June 1, 2018 | Blue Note

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There is a before and an after 1986 for Marcus Miller. That year, the bassist was 27 years old and composed and produced Miles Davis’ famous Tutu. Since then, the career of this four-string virtuoso has expanded with stunning albums for others (over 500!) and for himself (more than twenty), as well as multiple collaborations… Like often with Marcus Miller, the borders between jazz, funk, soul and blues are magnificently blurred. And it is once again the case with this Laid Black. After Afrodeezia, which he designed like a musical journey through his personal history, retracing the path of his ancestors, Laid Black falls within present time with a cocktail of all the urban sounds he loves: hip-hop, trap, soul, funk, R&B and, of course, jazz. In fact, this kind of 180° overview is the man’s trademark. Shuffling between various currents of African-American music. And even inserting a few clever references when he covers Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) popularised by Doris Day, but using Sly Stone’s arrangement from 1973 Fresh… For this 2018 opus, Marcus Miller has called upon a few sharp shooters such as Trombone Shorty, Kirk Whalum, Take Six, Jonathan Butler and the young Belgian soul sister Selah Sue. Groove galore and precise yet never sickening pyrotechnics are at the core of an album that only its author knows how to make. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 2, 2015 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Afrodeezia is bassist Marcus Miller's debut for Blue Note Records. Produced by the artist, the 11-track set features his core band -- saxophonist Alex Han, trumpeter Lee Hogans, pianist Brett Williams, guitarist Adam Agati, and drummer Louis Cato -- with an international list of guests. The music was inspired by Miller's work as a UNESCO artist for peace, and as a spokesperson for the Slave Route project. Afrodeezia is a masterful contemporary reflection of transcontinental rhythms and melodies that have migrated through the bodies and spirits of African slaves as they were transported to South America, the Caribbean, and the United States before refracting back across the globe in the contemporary era through jazz, R&B, and hip-hop. "Hylife," the set's first single, reflects the long reach of Ghana's popular style grafted on to contemporary jazz-funk with a host of Senegalese musicians on percussion and backing vocals. Lead vocals are provided courtesy of Alune Wade, the great Senegalese bassist. Despite its intense dancefloor appeal, the players' sophisticated rhythmic and harmonic interplay is ferocious. On "B's River," kora player Cherif Soumano and guest trumpeter Etienne Charles solo with Miller on gimbri, bass, and bass clarinet. "Preacher's Kid (Song for William H)" melds modern jazz and American and African gospel. The bassist performs on upright, clarinet, and piano; Cory Henry guests with a gorgeous organ solo as Lalah Hathaway delivers wordless vocals supported by Wade, Dakar's mezzo-soprano Julia Sarr, and Take 6's Alvin Chea. "We Were There" celebrates the example of George Duke and Joe Sample and how their love for Brazilian sounds transformed modern jazz. Robert Glasper's Fender Rhodes is a nice foil for Miller's dominant bassline. Hathaway's scat vocals are appended by a Brazilian chorus with percussion from Marco Lobo. The cover of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" features guitarists Wah-Wah Watson (who appeared on the Temptations' hit), and Keb' Mo', whose blues approach arcs the lineage to the Delta. Patches Stewart adds his NOLA trumpet playing to emphasize that city's R&B groove in the heart of Northern Soul. Rightfully, this jam is ruled by Miller's bassline, which pays homage to the original while revealing how it influenced everything in popular music that came afterward. "Son of Macbeth" is another monster groover that re-links calypso to contemporary jazz. Just as Robert Greenridge's steel pan drums made Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers' "(Just) the Two of Us" so infectious, Greenridge appears to do the same here. "I Can't Breathe," with just Miller and Mocean Worker creating a wild meld of instrumental color, back Public Enemy's Chuck D in wedding hard funk, political hip-hop, and dance music, exhorting the listener to remember that the struggle for equality is not over. Miller's wide-angle view of jazz is extended further on the glorious Afrodeezia. It reveals in a sophisticated, exceptionally ambitious manner the labyrinthine interconnectedness of earlier sounds and rhythms -- which emerged from bondage and horrific suffering -- to new ones that bring the world joy. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released May 28, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Marcus Miller's career as a sideman, composer, and producer in jazz, R&B, and pop has been prolific. He's continuously pushed boundaries in order to blur and integrate genres. Renaissance is his first studio recording in five years (Free was released in 2007 in Europe and Japan, then re-released in the United States as Marcus in 2008). Renaissance's title reflects the idea that music needs a rebirth to keep up with the creative possibilities afforded by technology, and to reflect the ever-shifting, politically charged cultural landscape. The manner in which he posits this is anything but theoretical, however. Renaissance may be the most emotive offering in Miller's catalog. Groove and firepower are near constants here. Jazz-funk, R&B, rock, post-bop, club-jazz, and more come together in a wide-ranging collection that is deeply focused and expertly sequenced. Using a revolving cast whose core is alto saxophonist Alex Han, guitarist Adam Agati, and keyboardist Federico Gonzalez Peña, guests include trumpeters Maurice Brown and Sean Jones, organist Bobby Sparks, and more. Things get off to a skittering start on "Detroit," with Miller's bass riding heard over a knotty jazz-funk groove. Louis Cato's drums accent breaks in key sections, the souled-out horns highlight the choruses, and Agati's guitar nastily accents it all while Han's alto solo is a monster. The cover of "Slipping Into Darkness" melds Kris Bowers' piano and Sparks' organ with hand percussion, both trumpets, and Miller's funky reggae groove. The melody accents syncopation on the backbeat before weaving Bob Marley's and Peter Tosh's "Get Up, Stand Up" in as a logical yet surprising extension. Bowers' knotty piano solo illustrates the wide possibilities for jazz improvisation. "Jekyll & Hyde" combines alternate passages of elegant, soulful contemporary jazz with riff-driven rock as Agati and Miller complement and push one another. "Revelation" is a rumbling modal jam with funky highlights and fine soloing by Han. "Gorée (Go-ray)," with Miller on bass clarinet, is a lilting, post-bop ballad with lovely melodic interplay; it was inspired by his visit to the House of Slaves on Gorée Island, his feelings standing inside and reflecting on the horror of the slave experience. It's emotional quality contains numerous dimensions. It is a meditation on how the ends of the lives of these slaves as they knew them also birthed of the African-American experience, one of continued struggle that culturally evolved and transfromed into diverse musical forms that bore witness to tragedy but also triumph as the art created from this history has brought joy and meaning to individuals and societies across globe. Its tenderness and equanimity tells the whole story. "Cee-Tee-Eye," while a thoroughly contemporary jazz tune, pays excellent tribute to the inspiration of Creed Taylor's label. The set closer, a simple reading of "I'll Be There," showcases the bassist's gift for lyricism and understatement. Renaissance is a lofty title, but the inspired performances Miller puts on offer get very close to delivering on the ambition it promises. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Electro - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Had Marcus Miller chosen a more fusion-centric path, it's quite possible that he would have become as iconic among fusion heads as Jaco Pastorius or Miroslav Vitous. Miller certainly knows his way around his electric bass, and he probably would have been a great addition to Return to Forever if Stanley Clarke had been unavailable for their 2008 reunion tour and Chick Corea had offered him the gig. But that is speculation, of course. What we can say with certainty is that being hell-bent for fusion is not the path chosen by the highly eclectic, broad-minded Miller, who is as well known for his work with Luther Vandross and for co-writing E.U.'s 1988 funk/go-go hit "Da Butt" as he is for the composing, producing, and playing he did on Miles Davis' Tutu and Amandla albums in the ‘80s. Nonetheless, Miller is quite capable of playing jazz when he wants to, and jazz is the main ingredient on A Night in Monte Carlo. Documenting a November 29, 2008 appearance in Monte Carlo, Monaco, this 63-minute CD unites Miller with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra as well as with trumpeter/flügelhornist Roy Hargrove. Occasionally, A Night in Monte Carlo steps outside of jazz; "State of Mind" and "Your Amazing Grace" (both of which feature singer Raúl Midón) are essentially vocal R&B. But instrumental jazz of the electric fusion variety dominates this concert, and the fact that Miller is operating in a very orchestral environment doesn't mean that there isn't room for stretching and improvising on memorable performances of Davis' "So What," George Gershwin's "I Loves You, Porgy," Jimmy Dorsey's "I'm Glad There Is You" and Amandla's title track. Some of those tunes have been beaten to death over the years, but not by fusion artists, and Miller manages to keep things intriguing even on some extremely familiar warhorses. A Night in Monte Carlo is not recommended to jazz purists; this is mainly jazz, but it's jazz with rock, funk, and hip-hop elements. Fusion lovers, however, will be delighted to hear Miller in this electric jazz-oriented environment. ~ Alex Henderson
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released June 1, 2018 | Blue Note

There is a before and an after 1986 for Marcus Miller. That year, the bassist was 27 years old and composed and produced Miles Davis’ famous Tutu. Since then, the career of this four-string virtuoso has expanded with stunning albums for others (over 500!) and for himself (more than twenty), as well as multiple collaborations… Like often with Marcus Miller, the borders between jazz, funk, soul and blues are magnificently blurred. And it is once again the case with this Laid Black. After Afrodeezia, which he designed like a musical journey through his personal history, retracing the path of his ancestors, Laid Black falls within present time with a cocktail of all the urban sounds he loves: hip-hop, trap, soul, funk, R&B and, of course, jazz. In fact, this kind of 180° overview is the man’s trademark. Shuffling between various currents of African-American music. And even inserting a few clever references when he covers Que Será, Será (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) popularised by Doris Day, but using Sly Stone’s arrangement from 1973 Fresh… For this 2018 opus, Marcus Miller has called upon a few sharp shooters such as Trombone Shorty, Kirk Whalum, Take Six, Jonathan Butler and the young Belgian soul sister Selah Sue. Groove galore and precise yet never sickening pyrotechnics are at the core of an album that only its author knows how to make. © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released March 8, 2005 | Hannibal

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 29, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

Marcus Miller is one of the great hyphenates of contemporary rhythm and jazz, equally successful as a producer (Luther Vandross, David Sanborn), songwriter (numerous Vandross hits, James/Sanborn's "Maputo"), and artist in his own right. It's not easy to capture every aspect of the man who has been called the "Superman of Soul" on one disc, but Live and More -- which draws from sold out performances in Los Angeles, Montreux, and throughout Japan -- gives it a solid effort. While Miller plays everything but the kitchen sink himself (bass, bass clarinet, guitar, and vocoder), the genuine excitement here emerges from giving space to and interacting and stretching out with his sea of all-stars. Miller wrote the moody trumpet-led seduction "Tutu" for Miles, but Michael "Patches" Stewart carries on in those muted footsteps (complemented by a flügelhorn solo) above a controlled Miller bassline and Poogie Bell's subtle drum brushes. Miller emerges as a halfway decent singer on the Crusaders-like "Funny" but leaves the bulk of the instrumental work to Kenny Garrett's gentle soprano and Hiram Bullock's increasingly raucous guitar. Miller also offers the studio ballad "Sophie" on which he adds yet another voice to his repertoire -- soprano sax. ~ Jonathan Widran
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released July 14, 2008 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 29, 2017 | Warner Bros.

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Jazz - Released September 23, 2002 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Multi-talented Marcus Miller's debut Suddenly was issued in the spring of 1983 on Patrick Rains' PRA Records label through Warner Bros. Miller shared production chores with Ray Bardani and Michael Colina, whom he'd worked with before on sides for David Sanborn. It's a tasty showcase for the bassist/songwriter/vocalist/producer who went from New York session stardom to mega-stardom with his frequent collaborator Luther Vandross. Vandross does vocals on "Lovin' You," "Just for You," and the squishy "Be My Love." The cornerstone cut is the gentle steppers favorite/quiet storm precursor "Much Too Much." The artist better realized his R&B/funk/jazz fusion on his 1984 Warner Bros. LP, Marcus Miller. ~ Ed Hogan
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Jazz - Released April 1, 2012 | Dreyfus Jazz

"Adventurous blues fans may find much to recommend in Miller's arrangement of Beethoven's 'Moonlight Sonata', which he treats as if it were a slow blues."
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Jazz - Released August 1, 2008 | Jazz Door

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