HE'S JUST MARCUS!
I made it a personal quest for 2008 to do more posts on the overlooked music genre called Jazz. My motivation is that younger music lovers seem to have this obvious and deliberate detachment from jazz as a whole. Personally, I have heard every explanation/excuse for why a person does not like jazz, whether they have heard an actual jazz album or not. How an individual can decide not to like a WHOLE genre of music based solely on one song or album is mind-boggling. I think it truly has a lot to do with the genre being catered more toward the older age bracket, similar to how rap music is targeted at teenagers. Isn’t it peculiar how one of the most celebrated groups in hip-hop, A Tribe Called Quest rapped over production that was 75% jazz based? So, in theory to not like jazz music is to not like A Tribe Called Quest. I double-dog triple dare you to say that you don’t like the Tribe!
Okay, now that I’m done rambling lets get on to the meat of this post, which is giving one my favorite jazz artist some shine. He’s a true veteran in the game and his name is Marcus Miller. This New York based, Grammy-award winning musician is a producer, composer, singer and instrumentalist. Mr. Miller is probably best known for his earlier work with legends like Miles Davis, Luther Vandross and David Sanborn as a bass guitarist. This brother is NO JOKE when it comes to playing that electric bass! His slapping style of play is still unmatched in my opinion. He has definitely been an inspiration to many musicians that have come after him. It’s no accident that Marcus has enjoyed a long and respectable music career, and he’s still doing his thing today. Did you know that he created all of the music for the hit UPN television show “Everybody Hates Chris?” You know the comedy sitcom featuring Chris Rock doing his hit or miss stand-up comedy routine commentary while Tichina Arnold and Terry Crews play the 70s ghetto-like parents. Yeah, that sitcom. That’s your Jazzy Black History fact of the day!
Outside of doing TV show themes, Mr. Miller is still making solid albums as well. His latest release is entitled “Marcus” and it’s definitely full of some nice grooves. Marcus has always been a genius as meshing jazz and soul together like a fat girl in a pair of fishnet stockings, and this new joint is no exception. With vocal contributions from artists like Ledisi, Corinne Bailey Rae, Lalah Hathaway, Keb’Mo and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow fame) how could you lose? I was sold at Ledisi and Lalah personally! So, do yourself a favor and get familiar with Marcus Miller. He has a total of 11 albums to date that you can check for, not to include his side projects and dope collaboration efforts. So, if you have been looking for a jazz artist to start your search for great music, Marcus Miller is your man...
Check out a little Marcus Miller in action, then thank me later folks!
Marcus Miller - Scoop
Marcus Miller - Live Under The Sky 1991