icon of bass, Marcus Miller is
the most in-demand and popular bass player worldwide. The list of
musicians who want to play with him, is not graspable. Nor can you
count the albums on which he sounds his significant bass. A new album
of this legend is always a highlight of the year.
Marcus does not have to decorate his album with top names. He performs
with trumpeters Sean Jones and Maurice Brown, alto saxophonist Alex
Han, drummer Louis Cato, guitarists Adam Agati and Adam Rogers, and
keyboardist Kris Bowers along with veteran keys wizards Federico
Gonzalez Peña and Bobby Sparks.
Marcus explains the title of his album: "I feel like a page is
turning. The last of our heroes are checking out and we are truly
entering a new era. Politically, things have polarized and are coming
to a head. Musically, we’ve got all these cool ways to play and share
music – MP3 files, internet radio and satellite radio – but the music
is not as revolutionary as the media. It’s time for a rebirth."
Marcus gets into the album with the accentuated Detroit. The
full sound of rumbling bass jumps literally into the face, takes you
on a wild journey. Even the saxophonist Han can hardly follow this
natural phenomenon and requires only chords.
On the song Redemption Marcus is holding back for the younger
brass players and performs only the bass line. His bass solo is just a
short swelling, which in favor of the jazzy motif takes back quickly.
On February Marcus catches the dreariness of the winter month
without boring the song. Oriental flow swings easily into the song.
Slippin' Into Darkness is
plotting the rhythm, a bit of Eric Burden's War enriched with a
sprinkle of Shaft. But then Marcus' bass gallops off to a showpiece.
Quincy Jones' century work Back On The Block is a treasure
trove for every musician. Marcus shows us that one can still improve
Ivan Lins’ Setembro. His fretless bass fits perfectly into the
mood of the song. Rubén Blades' ‘Con amor todo se puede’ and Gretchen
Parlato's chant adds the typical Brazilian flavor.
On Jekyll & Hyde Miller reveals his affinity for rock. This
piece is carved in stone. In contrast follows the dreamy interlude
Nocturnal Mist. A transition to the song Revelation. A
gloomy, massive piece of jazz. Lovers of brass music will really get
their money with Mr. Clean. As an extra Marcus delivers his
powerful slap bass. Gorée (Go-ray) is a small island in Sénégal
used by Portuguese for their slave trade. Marcus creates on bass
clarinet a sorrowful mood in memory of the suffering of the slaves.
Cee-Tee-Eye is Miller's tribute to the legendary record company
CTI. Outstanding is Maurice Brown's trumpet solo following the path of
Freddie Hubbard. Miller also likes to perform young music styles like
on Tightrope, a song by American singer Janelle Monáe. The
vocal part is brilliantly set in scene by Dr. John. On the final
I'll Be There, a rendition of the Jackson 5's mega hit, Marcus
lets his bass shine again, sonorous and melodious.
Renaissance showcases Miller's maturity, his independence and
exposed player personality. Miller doesn't glance at the audience's
favor. The audience has to accept his genius.