@ the Barbican 22 November 2009
& The Brixton Academy 1996
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Desert Island Discs
Which 2 albums would you take with you to a desert island?
Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue
Sly & The Family Stone – Greatest Hits (2008 release)
Born in Brooklyn in 1959, raised in Jamaica, New York, Grammy award winner Marcus Miller displayed an affinity for music of all genres at a young age. By the age of thirteen Miller began composing music and was able to hold his own on the piano, clarinet and bass guitar. It was the bass guitar that captured his imagination – and by the age of fifteen opportunities would soon come knocking in the form of various bands working the New York clubs. Progression was swift and he would soon be playing bass guitar and writing for flutist Bobbi Humphrey and fusion keyboard extraordinaire Lonnie Liston Smith.
Miller’s next conquest would be the recording studio. His
unique formula of composition and bass work was beginning to earn
him a respected ‘studio name’. He would be called upon
by a wide range of respected musicians such as Roberta Flack, Grover
Washington Jr, Bob James, Bryan Ferry, Joe Sample, Frank Sinatra,
Mariah Carey, Bill Withers and LL Cool J, to name a few. In fact,
to date - Miller has appeared as a bassist on well over 400 recordings.
In 1981 Miller received the calling from his idol Miles Davis -
and promptly joined him on the road. Miller would spend two years
with Davis further honing his craft and overall style.
"He didn't settle for anything mediocre," Miller recalls. "And this helped me develop my style. I learned from him that you have to be honest about who you are and what you do. If you follow that, you won't have problems."
Miller released his debut album “Suddenly” In 1983 - and was able to surprise his fans by ‘singing’ on many tracks. A second self-titled album would follow in 1984, containing the sublime “Nadine” – again Miller himself providing vocals.
Producing David Sanborn's album “Voyeur” in 1990 would
not only prove to be a landmark, but also the start of a long-term
partnership. “Voyeur would earn Sanborn a well deserved Grammy
– and Miller even greater recognition as an accomplished musician
/composer. Miller and Sanborn’s live stage collaboration became
a highly anticipated showpiece for fans worldwide.
Miller’s collaboration success would continue with soul /
R&B legend Luther Vandross. Miller and Vandross first met in
1979 while working with Roberta Flack.
“…We instantly connected because we were both so serious about music.” Miller recalls.
The Miller –Vandross ‘music machine’ would soon be an unstoppable force, producing many ‘crossover hits’ such as “It’s Over Now”, “Till My Baby Comes Home”, “Any Love” and the 1991 Grammy award winning single
“The Power Of Love”.
1986 would see Miller collaborate with Miles Davis to produce another landmark album “Tutu”. Miller continued to produce another three albums with Davis, including the critically acclaimed “Siesta”. Miller also produced albums for Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Kenny Garrett, Al Jarreau, the Crusaders and Take 6 amongst others.
In 1993, Miller released the album “The Sun Don’t Lie”, followed by “Tales” in 1995. After many years touring – and acknowledgement of feedback from fans, Miller’s “Live & More” album was released in 1997.
Miller’s anticipated “M2” album was released early 2001 and was awarded a Grammy for the best Contemporary Jazz Album category.
Miller has added many film scores to his repertoire, Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang and Morris Chestnut’s, D.L Hughley’s “The Brother’s” film receiving much attention and praise for musical as well as visual content.
Marcus Miller is an artist who continues to explore and challenge himself. Whatever his next project will be, he assures his loyal fans that he will always “keep it real”.