by Marcus MillerMarcus Miller


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Marcus Miller's career as a sideman, composer, and producer in jazz, R&B, and pop has been prolific. He's continuously pushed boundaries in order to blur and integrate genres. Renaissance is his first studio recording in five years (Free was released in 2007 in Europe and Japan, then re-released in the United States as Marcus in 2008). Renaissance's title reflects the idea that music needs a rebirth to keep up with the creative possibilities afforded by technology, and to reflect the ever-shifting, politically charged cultural landscape. The manner in which he posits this is anything but theoretical, however. Renaissance may be the most emotive offering in Miller's catalog. Groove and firepower are near constants here. Jazz-funk, R&B, rock, post-bop, club-jazz, and more come together in a wide-ranging collection that is deeply focused and expertly sequenced. Using a revolving cast whose core is alto saxophonist Alex Han, guitarist Adam Agati, and keyboardist Federico Gonzalez Peña, guests include trumpeters Maurice Brown and Sean Jones, organist Bobby Sparks, and more. Things get off to a skittering start on "Detroit," with Miller's bass riding heard over a knotty jazz-funk groove. Louis Cato's drums accent breaks in key sections, the souled-out horns highlight the choruses, and Agati's guitar nastily accents it all while Han's alto solo is a monster. The cover of "Slipping Into Darkness" melds Kris Bowers' piano and Sparks' organ with hand percussion, both trumpets, and Miller's funky reggae groove. The melody accents syncopation on the backbeat before weaving Bob Marley's and Peter Tosh's "Get Up, Stand Up" in as a logical yet surprising extension. Bowers' knotty piano solo illustrates the wide possibilities for jazz improvisation. "Jekyll & Hyde" combines alternate passages of elegant, soulful contemporary jazz with riff-driven rock as Agati and Miller complement and push one another. "Revelation" is a rumbling modal jam with funky highlights and fine soloing by Han. "Gorée (Go-ray)," with Miller on bass clarinet, is a lilting, post-bop ballad with lovely melodic interplay; it was inspired by his visit to the House of Slaves on Gorée Island, his feelings standing inside and reflecting on the horror of the slave experience. It's emotional quality contains numerous dimensions. It is a meditation on how the ends of the lives of these slaves as they knew them also birthed of the African-American experience, one of continued struggle that culturally evolved and transfromed into diverse musical forms that bore witness to tragedy but also triumph as the art created from this history has brought joy and meaning to individuals and societies across globe. Its tenderness and equanimity tells the whole story. "Cee-Tee-Eye," while a thoroughly contemporary jazz tune, pays excellent tribute to the inspiration of Creed Taylor's label. The set closer, a simple reading of "I'll Be There," showcases the bassist's gift for lyricism and understatement. Renaissance is a lofty title, but the inspired performances Miller puts on offer get very close to delivering on the ambition it promises.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/07/2012
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072337947
catalogNumber: 33794

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Marcus Miller   Primary Artist,Bass,Bass Clarinet,Fretless Bass Guitar,Acoustic Bass
Rubén Blades   Vocals
Dr. John   Vocals
Paul Jackson   Guitar
Adam Rogers   Acoustic Guitar
Ramon Yslas   Percussion
Bobby Sparks   Organ,Clavinet
Gretchen Parlato   Vocals
Sean Jones   Trumpet
Federico Gonzalez Peña   Piano,fender rhodes
Maurice Brown   Trumpet
Louis Cato   Conga,Drums,Djembe
Alex Han   Alto Saxophone
Kris Bowers   Piano,fender rhodes
Adam Agati   Guitar

Technical Credits

Ivan Lins   Composer
Lee Oskar   Composer
Weldon Irvine   Composer
Hal Davis   Composer
Berry Gordy   Composer
Marcus Miller   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Gilson Peranzzetta   Composer
Howard Scott   Composer
Charles Miller   Composer
Bibi Green   Management
Morris Dickerson   Composer
Sylvester Allen   Composer
Antwan Patton   Composer
Taka Honda   Engineer
Jack Frisch   Art Direction
Luther "Mano" Hanes   Composer
Chris Finney   Engineer
Harold Goode   Executive Producer
Bob West   Composer
Harry Martin   Executive Producer
Willie Hutchison   Composer
Leroy Jordan   Composer
Chris Allen   Engineer
Janelle Monáe Robinson   Composer
Nathaniel Irvin   Composer
Bernard Dulau   Representation
Freddy Wexler   Composer
Harold Ray Brown   Composer
Rod Steger   Engineer
Charles Delbert   Composer

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