Contemporary Jazz

VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases

Renaissance Man

01 AUG 12 JONATHAN WIDRAN

While the title of Marcus Miller’s latest Concord Jazz recording Renaissance (available Aug. 7) refers directly to the bassist/composer’s ambitions of stirring a musical, cultural and spiritual revolution, it could just as easily apply to the scope of his multifaceted career as a musical Renaissance man since the late-'70s.

The roots of this eclectic album lie in a project Miller released a few years ago in Europe and Asia called Tutu Revisited -- which featured fresh interpretations of the music that Miller and Miles Davis recorded on the trumpet legend’s landmark 1986 date Tutu. Miller was asked to do a concert of that music by a Parisian man who had created a temporary museum exhibit dedicated to Miles at the Cite de la Musique. “Miles never looked backwards,” Miller said. “So, to make it consistent with his aesthetic, I thought the best approach would be to play the music with young musicians who were babies when Tutu was originally released, rather than my own band.”

The concert was so successful that it led to two years of touring throughout Asia, Europe and the U.S. Renaissance, a collection of dynamic new Miller compositions in the spirit of Tutu, features the same group he toured with -- including saxophonist Alex Han, drummer Ronald Bruner, keyboardist Federico Gonzalez Peña -- in addition to trumpeters Maurice Brown and Sean Jones. The new lineup recently did a six week tour of Europe and Northern Africa and plans to do a six week fall tour starting in September.

In late June, Miller’s band was part of A Celebration of Miles Davis at the Hollywood Bowl -- an event held in conjunction with the US Postal Service’s dedication of a new Miles postage stamp.



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