This bass player is a legend and one of the most in-demand bass players worldwide. He performed with musicians like Miles Davis, Brian Ferry, Joan Armatrading, Victor Bailey, Bee Gees, Brecker Bros., Tom Browne, Jonathan Butler, Luther Vandross, Brian Culbertson, Will Downing, Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob James, just to name a few. The discography on his  website counts 553 entries. To give a survey about his whole musical live is carrying coal to New Castle.

"I like to keep things balanced, combining R&B, jazz, funk and movie stuff to help reflect what's happening in our world. I just try to keep challenging myself to continue to grow and get better." So many of Marcus' albums are a mirror of this attitude showcasing the diverse position of this musical genius. The album starts with a title, the album is all about: Blast! A mixture of Hip Hop moisture with a deep sip of Oriental stuff. Somehow the bass world has discovered the structure of Arabian music and Marcus layers some sitar lines on his bass lead.

Dig deeper into the nature of bass with Funk Joint. Hosting the deepest tones Marcus shows us the reverberation of contemporary jazz. Free is featuring the wonderful songstress Corinne Bailey Rae in a cover of Deniece Williams' 1976 hit. She has a fresh voice, unadorned but so natural. David Sanborn's alto sax adds some brilliant jazz sparkles to this awesome R&B ballade.

Motowns musical genius Stevie Wonder recorded Higher Ground for his masterwork Innervisions (1973), for Marcus the ideal platform to expand his bass skills. Some say that Keb' Mo' is the personal expression of blues. After the first hits of the bass drums you know this kind of Milky Way is following the path of trial and tribulation and Keb' is our guide.

The interlude Pluck is a bluesy heavyweight. Marcus Miller on bass clarinet and sitar is a nice surprise. Lost Without U is my personal favorite on this album. Featuring Lalah Heathaway and The Ivey Sisters this song has the appeal and ease of paradise. Gregoire Maret on harmonica is the discovery of this year. Currently he is touring with Marcus Miller and working on his debut album.

'Cause I Want You is featuring rapper Shihan the Poet. His abilities to transcend cultural and generational boundaries have made Shihan a much sought after talent. Gregoire Maret and his harmonica are the backbone of Ooh! This song was written by Marcus and soul diva Lalah Hathaway in 2006 as bonus track for the compilation Power: Essential Marcus Miller.

On the romantic ballade When I Fall In Love Marcus performs bass clarinet, fretless bass, organ, synth and fender Rhodes. This isn't a demonstration of Marcus' multi-instrumentality but the optimal realization of a musical idea. On Strum (A strum is the act of brushing one's fingers over, or strumming, the strings of a string instrument such as a guitar.) Marcus performs a loop on his slap bass as the platform for the other instruments especially Tom Scott's tenor sax. The piece reminds of ancient TV-serials like The Streets of San Francisco.

Marcus, who worked with Miles Davis at the end of his recording career, uses Miles' Jean-Pierre to illustrate the late trumpeter's gift for making the most of a simple melody. Often performed on his live shows he recorded this tune for his album.

What Is Hip? was originally recorded by the group Tower of Power for their third album in 1973. Certainly their most successful album. Marcus' rendition is featuring David Sanborn on alto sax. Sanborn, Miller, Chester Thompson on organ and Poogie Belon drums that's the real thing.

The album finishes with another version of Lost Without You this time featuring the spoken words of actress and singer Taraji P. Henson, very popular as Whitney Rome in Boston Legal.

So the wheel turns full circle. Starting his career as R&B star in the group Jamaica Boys, performing bass on Tom Browne's Funkin' For Jamaica and E.U.’s Da’Butt from the 1988 Spike Lee soundtrack to School Daze Marcus rediscovered his penchant for R&B. To the jazz purists Marcus cites Miles Davis: "Miles used to do songs from Broadway, and people thought then it was corny. But he played with such heart. And that's the trick: taking material and showing people the possibilities of how far you can take this music. That's the tradition I'm trying to carry on."

When I understand correctly record promotion veteran Lamont Boles we will have more R&B on Marcus' albums in the future. What can be better than to get R&B with a sophisticated jazzy flavor.




  • Bio
  • Marcus Miller's website
  • CD available here:
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  • Album information:

    Title: Marcus
    Artist: Marcus Miller
    Year: 2008
    Length: 1:10:55
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Concord Music Group

    01 Blast! [5:43]
    02 Funk Joint [5:13]
    03 Free (Featuring Corinne Bailey Rae) [5:01]
    04 Higher Ground [5:11]
    05 Milky Way (Featuring Keb Mo) [5:37]
    06 Pluck (Interlude) [3:19]
    07 Lost Without U [4:42]
    08 Cause I Want You (Featuring Shihan The Poet) [3:13]
    09 Ooh (Featuring Lalah Hathaway) [4:00]
    10 When I Fall In Love [5:24]
    11 Strum [5:41]
    12 Jean Pierre [6:16]
    13 What Is Hip? (Featuring David Sanborn And Chester Thompson) [6:03]
    14 Lost Without U (Spoken Words) (Featuring Taraji P. Henson)` [5:34]