Bassist/composer Marcus Miller has signed to Universal Jazz & Classics in France and will make his debut for Blue Note Records next month with the release of his new album Afrodeezia, which will be available March 16 in Europe and March 17 in the U.S. The album’s lead single “Hylife” is available today across all digital retailers and streaming services. Miller has also announced select shows around the album’s March release in Chicago, Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles, with further tour dates to be announced shortly.
The “Safety” original soundtrack features score by critically acclaimed Grammy®-winning jazz musician/producer and composer Marcus Miller, plus the original song “Hold Us Together” performed by Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist H.E.R., which she wrote and produced in collaboration with Josiah Bassey and Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II.
Marcus Miller has served as bassist, arranger, and producer for everyone from Luther Vandross to Miles Davis, and on his fourth solo album, Tales, Miller tries to reconnect the fractured fragments of African American music. He uses samples of recorded interviews with his older musical heroes to set up his own instrumental interpretations of that musical history. For example, spoken-word samples from Davis, Charlie Parker, and Billie Holiday lead into "The Blues," a midtempo blues groove that features both live drums and programmed drums, both jazzy horn lines from saxophonist Kenny Garrett and Larry Graham-like funk lines from Miller himself. The result is not jazz but R&B instrumentals with the sort of smarts and drama this genre rarely delivers anymore.
This two-CD (plus DVD) set is a better bet than last year's A Night in Monte Carlo: it celebrates the same creative funkiness of the mid-80s Miles Davis bands that bass guitar virtuoso and composer/arranger Miller had a big hand in, but here in more focused form, without symphony orchestras or singers. The canny Miller still goes for a soul-pop bravura and some technical posturings Miles would have avoided (hard to imagine the Prince of Darkness doing anything as uncool as swapping quotes from Sonny Rollins's St Thomas with his sidemen, or letting his bass guitarist acknowledge a sharp sax solo with a congratulatory sliding-note whoop) but there's a lot of very inventive jazz-making here, particularly from the gifted young partnership of trumpeter Christian Scott and saxophonist Alex Han.
An album entitled Renaissance is long overdue for the widely acclaimed Renaissance Man Marcus Miller. In among the most enviable careers in music, Miller is a two-time Grammy-winner and the composer/producer of ten critically acclaimed and genre-defying albums (seven studio and three live). Even the most devoted follower may be astonished to realise that Renaissance is only his eighth studio project since his 1983 debut, Suddenly, considering the abundance of occasions Miller's name has appeared within album credits and that he has dazzled with performances, compositions and productions in the company of some of the world s most respected and accomplished players and superstars - from the mid-'70s to the present.
If there's such a thing as post-modernist Jazz-Funk, it surely sounds like this.
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.
Features 24 bit digital remastering. Comes with a mini description. This collaboration between Miles Davis and producer Marcus Miller (who, except for some cameos, plays all of the other instruments) is quite successful and a bit of a surprise since it is essentially a soundtrack to an obscure film. Dedicated to arranger Gil Evans, the music is greatly influenced by his style with Miller creating an electrified but very warm orchestra to accompany Davis' melodic solos. This was the first of several instances in which Miles Davis, in the twilight of his life, returned to his roots. It's worth searching for.