Archive for the Marcus MILLER Category

MARCUS MILLER – Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg CD (From World Tour)Live 2002

Posted in JAZZ, Marcus MILLER on December 22, 2010 by whoisthemonk

MARCUS MILLER – Ozell Tapes: The Official Bootleg CD (From World Tour)Live 2002

Jazz.

The ensemble is tight to the point of instinctual reaction, and on the covers it becomes obvious very quickly how well attuned the bandmembers are to Miller’s seemingly endless musical palette. There are readings of “I Loves You Porgy” and Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House,” Joe Sample and Will Jennings’ “When Your Life Was Low,” Thom Bell’s “You Make the World Go Round,” and “Killing Me Softly” — all with stunning vocal appearances by the divine Lalah Hathaway. But the covers only show one side; on the band’s originals such as “Scoop,” “Panther,” and “3 Deuces,” the easy looseness is evident even though these cats play their asses off. Nowhere is this more evident than on the set’s final track, a medley of the Miller/Miles Davis-penned tunes “Hannibal,” “Tutu,” and “Amandla.” Miller pushes his bandmembers to play the same unexpected twists and turns Miles was famous for, tossing changeups into the mix at odd moments, moving a time signature, changing a groove, shifting an interval — and they respond without a seam. They make it gritty and beautiful, improvising with grace, aplomb, and grit. The Ozell Tapes proves that Marcus Miller is not a “smooth jazz” musician or a “fusion” musician or a “pop” musician; this proves he is a jazz musician who plays thoroughly modern, emotionally and intellectually satisfying electric jazz. If rhythm, subtle harmony, melody, a touch of funkiness, and a bucket of soul are your thing, then this is for you no matter what kind of music you listen to.
By Thom Jurek. AMG.
**
This is the Marcus Miller everybody always knew existed yet never really heard on record. This is the man who can play bass, saxophone, and bass clarinet, and also compose, produce, arrange, etc., and usually does so in a slick studio setting. The Ozell Tapes is reported to be an “official bootleg”; it’s official to be sure but it’s no bootleg. These are tapes from the band’s 2002 tour straight from the soundboard without any remixing. The tapes are not from a single show, however, but the best performances from the entire tour. It’s a small complaint, really, that it doesn’t have the complete languid feel of a single show, because this is easily the best record Miller has ever released. His combined talents come into focus in spontaneous settings, where he walks the tightrope between composed or covered material, and between arranged and improvised material. And the material: There are two sets, on a pair of CDs. The music vacillates between the sacred and profane, but it’s all from the heart of the groove. First there’s the jam “Power,” an early showcase of the band’s strengths, and it’s immediately followed by an elegant and emotionally played funked-up version of Miles Davis’ “So What,” with a two-piece horn section and Miller on electric bass turning the groove over and back accompanied by an atmospheric airy (Ă  la “In a Silent Way”) piano. From here the band moves to John Coltrane’s “Lonnie’s Lament,” and turns it upside down into groove jazz meets gutter funk. The Coltrane vibe is replaced by something quite beautiful and lovely, and there is no irreverence in the interpretation.
**
Just want to let everyone know that we are releasing an ‘Official Bootleg CD’!
That’s right, someone is always releasing bootlegs on us so we decided to turn the tables and release one on ourselves!
There’s always somebody sneaking recording equipment into our shows, taping us and releasing unauthorized CD’s. They wear the mics under their shirtsleeves, inside their hats, in their shoes… whatever. As you can imagine, the sound quality is pretty bad (it’s hard to get clear sound through your hat!). So this time around, for the 2002 tour, I decided to beat the pirates to the punch!
We poured through the live mixing board recordings of all of our 2002 concerts, found the performances that we liked the best and put together ‘The Ozell Tapes’! We didn’t remix it or anything – it’s just the raw performances straight off the board. So it’s like a bootleg only better. It’s not just from one show either, it’s from the entire tour and there’s a lot of music, two CD’s worth.
This CD is for the die hard fans. If you enjoyed our show this year, this will definitely put you back in the vibe!
And if you enjoyed M2, I think it’ll be really interesting for you to hear how the tunes from that CD have matured and changed on the road.
I’m really happy with the way it turned out and I’m excited for everybody to hear it!
The Ozell Tapes! Dig it 🙂
By Marcus Miller. (September 17, 2002
**
Marcus Miller- Bass Guitar Fretless Bass Guitar Soprano Saxophone Bass Clarinet Keyboards;
Lalah Hathaway- Vocals;
Roger Byam- Tenor & Alto Saxophone, Flute;
Michael “Patches” Stewart; Bruce Flowers, Leroy “Scooter” Taylor- Keyboards ;
Dean Brown- Guitar;
Poogie Bell- Drums.
**
Cd1

01. Intro (By Big Doug Empting) (1:07)
02. Power (6.03)
03. So What (8:51)
04. Lonnie’s Lament (10:51)
05. Cousin John (10:42)
06. Scoop (12:27)
07. I Loves You Porgy (9:26)
08. Panther (11:21)

Cd2

01. 3 Deuces (11,69)
02. Your Amazing Grace (19,52)
03. Nikki’s Groove (9,28)
04. When Your Life Was Low (featuring Lalah Hathaway) (15,17)
05. Burning Down The House (11,98)
06. People Make The World Go Round (featuring Lalah Hathaway) (20,36)
07. Killing Me Softly (featuring Lalah Hathaway) (12,29)
08. Miles-Marcus Medley – Hannibal, Amandla,Tutu) (34,99)
**
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Marcus MILLER- Marcus 2008

Posted in JAZZ, Marcus MILLER on November 17, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Marcus MILLER- Marcus 2008

Jazz

Marcus Miller has a resume most people in the music world would envy. Miller is a bassist who’s also a producer, arranger, composer (including movie soundtracks), and multi-instrumentalist who has appeared on over 200 albums. His first for Concord, MARCUS, is a savory stew of jazz, funk, pop, and R&B. There are lean, stirring versions of classics by Stevie Wonder (“Higher Ground”) and Tower of Power (“What Is Hip”), soothing vocals from Corrine Bailey Rae, and a tip of the hat to Miller’s old boss Miles Davis (“Jean-Pierre”). Add the saxophones of David Sanborn and Tom Scott to the mix and one has a recipe for some nifty, debonair, groove-centric jazz.
**
Even though a virtuoso musician, he always manages to produce musical music whilst also amazing you with his skills – something that many of his contemporaries fail to achieve.
On this album – which is the new Concord Jazz release of the 2007 Album “Free” (the only difference is the added spoken word version of Robin Thicke’s 2007 hit Lost Without You from Evolution of Robin Thicke) – Marcus Miller is joined by Poogie Bell on drums, Michael ‘Patches Stewart’ on trumpet, Paul Jackson jr. on guitar, David Sanborn and Tom Scott on saxes, Bobby Sparks II on keys, while he plays almost everything else.
Corinne Bailey Rae and Lalah Hathaway lend a hand on vocals.
This is a killer front line, but the slim bassman in the flat-brim porkpie hat is at the beating heart of everything.
Ex-Miles Davis collaborator, the bass master and production guru is the eternal muso’s muso.
Marcus Miller is considered one of, if not the best contemporary bass players, having played with countless big name acts such as Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Luther Vandross just to name a few and also has a successful solo career.
Working with artists representing a wide variety of genres is a major theme on this latest work.
Yet his solo albums have been a mixed bag of sophisticated arrangements and slap solos, with occasionally questionable covers.
“Marcus” finds him striving for the raw funk of his Miles days, delivering great stripped down versions of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and Tower Of Power’s “What Is Hip?”.
Corinne Bailey Rae crops up on Denise Williams’ 1976 classic “Free” and she sounds good, but not great.
Miller plays it pretty straight on this rendition that holds close musically to Williams’ original (see This Is Niecy). The main difference is Miller’s bass playing, in which he employs his signature thumping and plucking funky style. The version also includes some definite jazz influenced improvising by Miller, as well as a saxophone solo.
You may like “Blast”, a thumb-punched gem and his version of the electric-Miles classic, “Jean-Pierre”. “I had the honour to work with Miles Davis long ago when I was 21 years of age and I finally figured out how to play this sucker.” Marcus says.
There’s an interesting version of “When I Fall In Love”, a bass-clarinet ballad : it showes his versatility, but he’s principally a born bassman and he does it as a funky fretless thing. Elsewhere it’s lots of very tight, precise slap that really shows off his amazing phrasing – very cleanly exectuted lines – with a few eastern and asian flavours creeping into the mix.
Overall it’s very good but a little different from what he’s done before.
It’s pretty darn funky. More in the funk vein than most of his more recent jazzy albums and at times it gets some great R&B as well.
His playing sounds amazing – and the killer cover this time around is his version of Tower Of Power’s “What Is Hip”, which, instead of finger picking, he slaps all the way, with a pocket so tight it hurts.
So if you like your jazz with plenty of life-affirming soul, dont hesitate. You will enjoy it.
By Gimme Jazz.
**
Lalah Hathaway– Vocals
Corinne Bailey Rae– Vocals
Keb’ Mo’– Vocals
Shihan the Poet– Vocals
Taraji P. Henson- Vocals
David Sanborn– Alto Sax
Tom Scott– Tenor Sax
Michael “Patches” Stewart– Trumpet, FlĂŒgelhorn
Paul Jackson, Jr.– Guitar
Bernard Wright– Organ, Synth
Gregoire Maret– Harmonica
Poogie Bell– Drums
**
01. Blast!  5:43
02. Funk Joint  5:12
03. Free (Feat. Corrine Bailey Rae)  5:00
04. Higher Ground  5:10
05. Milky Way (Feat. Keb’Mo’)  5:36
06. Pluck (Interlude)  3:19
07. Lost Without U  4:41
08. ‘Cause I Wan’t You (Feat. Shiban The Poet)  3:12
09. Ooh (Feat. Lalah Hathaway)  4:00
10. When I Fall In Love  5:23
11. Strum  5:41
12. Jean Pierre  6:15
13. What Is Hip?  6:02
14. Lost Without U (Spoken Word) (Feat. Taraji P. Henson)  5:34
**

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Marcus MILLER – Silver Rain 2005

Posted in JAZZ, Marcus MILLER on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Marcus MILLER – Silver Rain 2005
VICJ-61266

Jazz

If anyone could bring Eric Clapton and Eartha Kitt together on one album, it would be Marcus Miller, master of the slap bass and crossover producer extraordinaire. Though Miller’s heavy plucking is usually front-and-center, other guest artists like Macy Gray and Gerald Albright are given just as much room as Clapton to do their thing.
By Nick Dedina.
**
I am writing this review the day before the release date of Silver Rain, and the Amazon.com sales rank for this record is already 265th. This is a record of 15 tracks, all generally in a funk-jazz style that is hipper than any “smooth jazz” but still accessible, featuring only three vocals. The lead instrument on most of the tunes is either Mr. Miller’s electric bass or his—?!—bass clarinet. Marcus Miller is not famous—and what he is most famous for is producing other folks’ records. For the most part you can’t sing or hum along to this stuff—it’s a jazz record in the sense that there is much improvising without any discernable “hook”. So what exactly makes this music commercially viable?

I have theories…..!

The Guest Vocal Theory;
Perhaps the three vocals on this record—by no less than Lalah Hathaway, Macy Gray and Eric Clapton—are enough to move product. But each one is a modest contribution. Macy features on a Prince cover (“Girls & Boys”) and, despite her crazy-fun voice, barely registers. Mr. Guitar God does his Bob Marley thing on the title track, a “reggae shuffle” written by Miller. And the Daughter of Donny Hathaway delivers a nice, understated soul vocal on “La Villette”, a tune that also contains an unsettling wordless operatic vocal line on the chorus promptly followed by very long and show-offy electric bass solo. Is it believable that fans of Clapton (or Hathaway or Gray or the weirdly used operatic tenor) are so starved for tunes that they would buy this disc just for one track? Theory rejected.
The Odd Cover Tune Theory;
While Mr. Miller composed most of the music on this album, it is primarily a showcase for his prodigious funk-arranging skills. Can he give Beethoven a slippery, contemporary jazz feel? Yes he can: witness the “Moonlight Sonata” contained herein. Can he set Edgar Winter’s vintage “Frankenstein” atop a popping bass line for slashing trumpet and tenor sax solos? You betcha. The aforementioned Prince tune slithers by, as does a how’d-he-do-that? bass-heavy version of Stevie’s “Boogie on Reggae Woman”. (Side Note: American Idol is making even me—a certified Wonder Fan—feel that others should stop covering this great American songwriter. No more “Sir Duke” for the amateur singers of our nation, please.) Is there the obligatory Hendrix cover? ‘Deed there is: “Power of Soul”. Miller produced Luther, so we get a wordless version of “If Only for One Night”. And then, for proof of jazz creds, there is Ellington’s “Sophisticated Lady”. The last two are played beautifully by Miller on bass clarinet. But how many soul music fans are pining for bass clarinet on their iPod? Theory rejected.
The Bass Freak Theory;
The electric bass can be an unwieldy instrument. While every 14-year-old American boy I’ve ever met can slap out “Smoke on the Water” on a Fender Jazz Bass, almost no one can make the thing truly sing. That’s why bass players almost all have the same heroes: James Jamerson, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, Jack Bruce, Jaco Pastorius, maybe Les Claypool and recently Victor Wooten. Marcus Miller belongs in this kind of company. In fact, he’s probably a better all-around musician than any of the usual Bass Heroes while still being able to slap, pop and freak his way into the finals of any funk-slam-dunk contest you set up. And this disc is a complete bass guitar workout on every level. Every bass freak in the world should be picking this thing up. But still, how many people qualify as a genuine-certified members of freaky-deaky bass club? Theory rejected
The Promotional Muscle Theory;
In America you can sell just about anything if you know what you’re doing. Sure, it helps that this is extremely proficient, even artful and at times brilliant music, but that’s not the point. Marcus Miller is a professional’s professional, both a sideman and a producer for no less than Miles Davis; he is a man who has spent his lifetime in The Industry, even a winner of a 2001 Grammy for his last disc, M2. But if that were it, then you would expect him to be on a bigger label (even M2 was on the small Telarc label). And while there’s no doubt that Miller can attract industry heavyweights like Clapton to his projects, wouldn’t the truly heavy suits be objecting to hyping jazz purist Kenny Garrett as a “special guest” with long solos on the Clapton and Macy Gray tracks, no less? Theory rejected.
So?
One last theory;
as cobbled together as this collection is, each track is very good. With “contemporary jazz” as its broad-brush stylistic territory, this music succeeds in nearly everything it attempts. Perhaps least characteristic but most telling is “Sophisticated Lady”, which recaptures the Ellington original by having Miller’s bass clarinet play the main melody against very spare, synthesized drum groove and having his fretless bass guitar take the contrasting melody as tastefully minimal synth-strings flesh out the harmonies. Miller plays every note and makes you believe, almost, that the tune is his own. As with so many of the other covers on the record, Miller has re-imagined them as features for his own colossal talent. His originals are melodic and harmonically sophisticated (particularly the two features for harmonica player Gregoire Maret, “Behind the Smile” and “Make Up My Mind”) without losing their pop appeal.
Presumably the market—and Amazon.com—don’t lie. More people than I would imagine want what Marcus Miller has to offer: lovingly crafted instrumental pop with believable dollops of jazz, funk or soul atop its different servings. Silver Rain is most than just a product for sale. It is, almost despite itself, the portrait of a diverse talent.
By Will Layman.
*
Lucky Peterson- Guitar
Dean Brown- Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Eric Clapton- Guitar, Vocal
Roger Byam- Tenor Sax
Kirk Whalum- Tenor Sax
Michael “Patches” Stewart- Trumpet
Ronald Bruner- Drums, Tenor Sax
Bernard Wright- Keyboards
Grégoire Maret- Harmonica
Bruce Flowers- Fender Rhodes, Organ, Synthesizer Bass
Kenny Garrett- Alto Sax
Gerald Albright- Alto Sax
Lalah Hathaway- Vocals
Kenny Hicks- Tenor Vocal
Craig J.- Percussion
Munyungo Jackson- Percussion
Joey Kibble- Background Vocals
Mark Kibble- Background Vocals
Jessica Celious- Background Vocals
Eartha Kitt- Vocals
Macy Gray- Vocals
Poogie Bell- Drums, Snare Drums
Marcus Miller- Arranger, Audio Production, Bass, Acoustic Bass, Beat Box, Bass Clarinet, Clavinet, Composer, Drum Machine, Drums, Engineer, Executive Producer, Fender Rhodes, Finger Snaps, Fretless Bass, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, Handclapping, Hi Hat, Keyboards, Moog Synthesizer, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Rhythm Box, Soprano Sax, Scratching, Synthesizer, Synthesizer Orchestration, Synthesizer Strings, Talk Box, Tambourine, Udu, Vocals, Background Vocals, Voice Box, Woodwind
**
01. Intro Duction  0:29
02. Bruce Lee  5:23
03. La Villette  5:54
04. Behind The Smile  6:25
05. Frankenstein  6:32
06. Moonlight Sonata  7:38
07. Boogie On Raggae Woman  5:03
08. Paris (Interlude)  1:14
09. Silver Rain  6:01
10. Make Up My Mind  3:42
11. Girls And Boys  5:35
12. Sophisticated Lady  5:22
13. Power Of Soul  6:52
14. Outro Duction  0:49
15. It’ll Come Back To You  5:07
**

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