Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Marcus Miller: A Night in Monte-Carlo

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius references, Middle Eastern influences, deep funk and lush orchestral flourishes are among the elements Marcus Miller employs on his new album, recorded live in Monaco with the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008. The superstar bassist, producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist is joined by the likes of Herbie Hancock, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, singer-guitarist Raúl Midón and turntablist DJ Logic for a rangy set of music that mixes Miller staples with pieces tailor-made for his special guests. Under different leadership, it’s an approach that might have degenerated into variety-show contrivance. Not here. In Miller’s hands, variously wrapped around fretted and fretless Fender Jazz basses and bass clarinet, the eclecticism comes off as natural and inspired.

The spirit of Miles, Miller’s one-time boss, mentor and collaborator, is here on several occasions: a moody-to-swinging take on “So What,” with the strings sketching Bill Evans’ original piano introduction and the leader turning in a ferociously funky slap-and-pop solo; a gorgeous version of the Gershwins’ “I Loves You Porgy,” during which Miller wields a fretless for the theme and a melodic, jaw-dropping solo; and “Amandla,” the Miller-penned signature tune from Miles’ 1989 album, here with rapid-fire improvisations from Hargrove, alto saxophonist Alex Han and Miller.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.