5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Jazz with a Funk Beat, as only MM can do it.,
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This review is from: Renaissance (Audio CD)
Marcus Miller doesn't release that many albums and so this is something of an "event" in the world of bass guitar virtuosity. Straight away you are into a killer bass groove for "Detroit" and his regular band support ably throughout, as a Jazz sextet, with guests on a few tracks.
But if you've bought this album it's probably to hear the bass playing and it is well to the fore and expectedly virtuosic - with Marcus subdividing the beat in ways you never thought possible! The bass sounds superb on every track and we get plenty of funky grooves, with the occasional forray into gentler territory with fretless bass.
Marcus writes and arranges nearly everything - with a few exceptions that stand out. So "Setembro" is a Brazilian-style tune by Ivan Lins and here it has guests : Gretchen Parlato and Rube Blades on vocals. This is not your usual Latin groove and it is a very thoughtful arrangement.
The only other track with vocals is "Tightrope" which features the legendary Dr. John and is a big highlight of the album. Most of the album features the gigging band and is in Jazz territory with improvised solos against Marcus's unique grooves. The last track is an arrangement of the Jackson 5 classic "I'll be there" - but this is arranged for bass guitar only and is a "tour de force" - a lesson in how to play a tune on one instrument and not lose any of the melody or harmonic complexity.
If you like to hear virtuoso bass guitar, prominent in the mix on funky grooves - this album is amongst the best there is at that. I can't see this appealing to a wider audience, but for those fans of Marcus and the genre, this is a classy album, well up to his highest standards.