Sunday, July 1, 2012

Marcus Miller Renaissance Concord Jazz 2012


A landmark recording for music in general that borders on the addictive...

Renaissance

While available on import status via Amazon, the only bad news here is that the U.S. release date is 08/07/12 and this is the Marcus Miller recording to own. I normally shy away from the socio-political or music with a message vibe but this is where Miller pulls off what a handful of artists have attempted but with various degrees of mediocrity and polarization. This isn't Marcus Miller's first rodeo. Miller rode the wave in with the young lions of jazz thirty some years ago and now pays it forward by evoking a musical, cultural and eclectic spiritual revolution but with a celebratory twist that other artists simply missed. There is something here for everyone and no one is left out. Not a typical release but a visceral and cerebral experience meant to be savored and shared.

From a pure musical p.o.v Miller is challenging an artistic rebirth for all in an effort to match the incredible technology platforms that are available today but are some how edging ahead of the industry in general. Renaissance is a classic from the Miller wheelhouse of texture, flavor and attitude all working with a musical synergy that is infectious. From a classic CTI infused vibe to a fortified funk cover of the 1971 War classic "Slippin' Into Darkness" there is an organic celebration of music, this is music from the past, the present and of the musical promise of the future.

Two additional standout tracks here are the touching cover of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" and "Goree" a tune inspired from a visit Marcus and his band made to an African island historically known as a warehouse for human cargo. Miller is featured on his second weapon of choice being the bass clarinet on "Goree" adding a raw earthy flavor to a release that seems to flow effortlessly across the sonic spectrum. "Revelation" is another inspirational tune that has a spatial grandeur while the groove seems to smolder from within. The new young lions previously mentioned include Maurice Brown on trumpet, Alex Han on alto saxophone, Louis Cato on drums, guitarist Adam Agati and the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Composition winner in keyboardist Kris Bowers.

The band is tight. The original compositions are not coming from the heart and soul of Miller but some place far deeper. A righteous spirit.

5 Huge Stars...

Tracks: Detroit; Redemption; February; Slippin Into Darkness; Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song); Jekyll & Hyde; Interlude: Nocturnal Mist; Revelation; Mr. Clean; Goree; Cee-Tee-Eye; Tightrope; I'll Be There.