icon Marcus Miller, one of the top five world bass players, enjoys
high name recognition. He not only possesses a high reputation among
critics but also among his professional colleagues. Ever since he took
over the role of host at the smooth jazz cruises, he is well known far
beyond the field of jazz.
His solo albums are not pure collections of songs but conceptually
planned. On his previous album Afrodeezia he themed
not only Africa, but sought a close alliance with numerous
African musicians. Marcus comments: “With Laid Black, I
decided to bring the music right up to the present – using elements
from what’s happening in urban music today. So you’ll hear hip-hop,
trap, soul, funk, R&B and jazz on this album”.
Marcus performs on the new album bass, keyboards, vocals, synths,
Wurlitzer electric piano, clavinet, bass clarinet, drums, and rhythm
programming. Further supporting musicians on selected tracks are
Marquis Hill, Patches Stewart, Russell Gun (trumpet), Alex Han (alto
sax), Brett Williams (keyboards, piano, Fender Rhodes), Alex Bailey
(drums, percussion), Russell Gun with New Orleans horns, Selah Sue
(vocals), Adam Agati (guitar), Trombone Shorty (trombone), Jonathan
Butler (vocals, guitar), Louis Cato (drums), Kirk Whalum (flute, tenor
sax), Caleb McCampell (vocoder), Cliff Barnes (piano), Julian Miller
(vocals), Richie Cajate-Garcia (percussion), and Take 6 (vocals).
Trip Trap introduces into the darkness of Marcus' bass with
breathtaking virtuosity running the scales up and down. The musical
counterweights deliver Marquis Hill on the trumpet, keyboardist Brett
Williams and the formidable New Orleans horns under the direction of
Russell Gun. Que Sera Sera, written by the songwriting team
of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans in 1956, became famous by Alfred
Hitchcock's film The Man Who Knew Too Much with Doris Day and
James Stewart. Marcus Miller proves that you can handle this song very
differently. Belgian singer Selah Sue shows ecstatic moments in the
style of Janis Joplin.
On 7-T's the power team of Marcus Miller, Trombone Shorty and
Alex Bailey creates an explosive package which breaks the line between
genres. If you invite the singer and guitarist Jonathan Butler, you
can safely assume that he brings in his South African flair. Although
he leads the leitmotiv
on Sublimity ‘Bunny’s Dream’, he remains more of a
member of the concert jazz.
On Untamed everything starts with a sequenced keyboard sound,
based on which the recording musicians rank their talented excursions.
No Limit shares a catchy melody with the crew. The rhythm
enhanced tune infects the listener with the dance virus. On
Someone To Love Marcus picks up the acoustic bass to sing in
harmonious union. On Keep 'Em Runnin Marcus Miller is joined
by his son and vocalist Julian Miller. Together they search the hip
The final tune Preacher's Kid differs significantly from the
other songs on the album. Take 6 delivers a sonic Gospel atmosphere.
Marcus performs no bass but bass clarinet.
Kirk Whalum is in the lead on his tenor sax, who in the course
of the piece is playing a jazzy battle with alto saxophonist Alex Han.
Marcus Miller's album Laid Black is an album, which does not
make it easy for the listener. Miller puts the preferences on the bass
and makes only one exception. But who knows his album and loves his
music, gladly accepts this. With the style mixture the whole thing is
already more challenging. Again, the announcement applies, you do not
have to live with each piece. Under the knit, his album is a win for
the music world and that's the only thing that matters.