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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
With every Christmas card I write,
“May your days be merry and bright,
And may all your Christmases be white”.
By Bing Crosby and Andrew(Brown Sugar).
Marcus Miller- Purple Haze .
canon 5D Mark II . Canon 70 – 200 mm f/4 L
Miller was born in 1959 and raised in a musical family that includes his father, William Miller (a church organist and choir director) and jazz pianist Wynton Kelly. By 13, Marcus was proficient on clarinet, piano and bass guitar, and already writing songs. Two years later he was working regularly in New York City, eventually playing bass and writing music for jazz flutist Bobbi Humphrey and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith. Miller soon became a top call session musician, gracing well over 500 albums, a short list of which includes Herbie Hancock, Mariah Carey, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Grover Washington Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J and Me’shell NdegéOcello and Flavio Sala.
Miller at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, 2007
Miller spent approximately 15 years performing as a sideman or session musician and observing how great band leaders operated. During that time he also did a lot of arranging and producing. During the late seventies he was a member of the Saturday Night Live band from 1978 through 1979. He played on over 500 recordings, including those by Luther Vandross, Grover Washington Jr., Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, McCoy Tyner, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol. He won the “Most Valuable Player” award, (awarded by NARAS to recognize studio musicians) three years in a row and was subsequently awarded “player emeritus” status and retired from eligibility. In the nineties, Miller began to record his own records, he had to put a band together to take advantage of touring opportunities.
Miller’s proficiency on his main instrument, the bass guitar, is generally well-regarded. Not only has Miller been involved in the continuing development of a technique known as “slapping”, particularly his “thumb” technique, but his fretless bass technique has also served as an inspiration to many, and has taken the fretless bass into musical situations and genres previously unexplored with the electric bass of any description. The influences of some of the previous generation of electric bass players, such as Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius, are audible in Miller’s playing. Early in his career, Miller was accused of being simply imitative of Pastorius, but has since more fully integrated the latter’s methodology into his own sound.
Miller has an extensive discography, and tours frequently and widely in Europe and Japan.
Between 1988 and 1990 he appeared in the first season and again toward the end as both the Musical Director and also as the house band bass player in The Sunday Night Band during the two seasons of the acclaimed music performance program Sunday Night on NBC late-night television.1
As a composer, Miller wrote “Tutu” for Miles Davis, a piece that defined Davis’ career in the late 1980s, and was the title song of Davis’ album Tutu, upon which Miller wrote all the songs with only two exceptions, and one of those was co-written with Davis. He also composed “Chicago Song” for David Sanborn and co-wrote “’Til My Baby Comes Home”, “It’s Over Now”, “For You to Love”, and “Power of Love” for Luther Vandross. Miller also wrote “Da Butt”, which was featured in Spike Lee’s School Daze.
Miller has won numerous Grammy Awards as a producer for Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chaka Khan and Wayne Shorter. He won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1992, for Luther Vandross’ “Power of Love” and in 2001 he won for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for his fourth solo instrumental album, M2.
Miller currently is bandleader of his own band, which strives to remain faithful to the concepts of improvisation and innovation in jazz-based music that is perhaps more accessible to different audiences. His concerts and recorded works are often regarded as intensely creative and therefore appealing to serious musicians. In 1997 Miller played bass and bass clarinet in a band called Legends, featuring Eric Clapton (guitars and vocals), Joe Sample (piano), David Sanborn (alto sax) and Steve Gadd (drums). It was an 11-date tour of major jazz festivals in Europe.
In addition to his recording and performance career, Miller has established a parallel career as a film score composer. He has written numerous scores for films featuring: Eddie Murphy, L.L. Cool J, Chris Rock, Matthew Perry, Samuel L. Jackson and others.
Miller composed the musical score for the Chris Rock-created sit-com, Everybody Hates Chris, now in syndication on Nick-At Nite.
See also interview on ABC Radio National Music Show with Andrew Ford Nov 2010
Instruments and gear
Fender currently produces a Marcus Miller signature Fender Jazz Bass in four (made in Japan)- and five-string (made in U.S) versions.2
Miller is currently or has previously endorsed these brands3.
DR Handmade Strings
Solo period (1982–present)
1984: Marcus Miller
1993: The Sun Don’t Lie
1998: Live & More
2000: Best of ‘82-’96
2001: M² (2002 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album)
2002: The Ozell Tapes
2005: Silver Rain
2008: Thunder (as SMV, with Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten)
2010: A Night in Monte Carlo – Live 2009
Luther Vandross Period
1983: “Busy Body”
1985: “The Night I Fell In Love”
1985: “’Til My Baby Comes Home”
1985: “It’s over now”
1986: “I Really Didn’t Mean It”
1986: “She Won’t Talk To Me”
1986: “Give me the Reason”
1987: “Stop to love”
1987: “See Me”
1988: “Luther In Love – Megamix”
1988: “Any Love”
1989: “The Best Of Love”
1989: “Come back”
1991: “The Rush”
1991: “Power of Love / Love Power (Uno Clio & Colin and Carl Remix)”
1991: “Power of Love / Love Power”
1991: “Power of Love”
1993: “Never Let Me Go”
1993: “Heaven knows”
1995: “This is Christmas”
1995: “Power of Love / Love Power (The Frankie Knuckles Mixes)”
1996: “Your Secret Love”
1996: “I Can Make It Better”
1998: “I Know”
2001: “Luther Vandross”
2003: “Dance With My Father”
2007: “Love Luther”
David Sanborn period (1975–2000)
1981: As We Speak
1984: Straight to the Heart
1987: Change of Heart
1991: Another Hand
1996: Songs from the Night Before
Miles Davis period (1980–1990)
1981: The Man with the Horn
1981: We Want Miles
1982: Star People
1987: Music From Siesta
1991: The Complete Miles Davis at Montreux
The Jamaica Boys period (1986–1990)
1987: The Jamaica Boys
1989: The Jamaica Boys II: J. Boys
1990: “House Party” (featuring Kid & Play)
1992: “Boomerang” (featuring Eddie Murphy)
1994: “Above the Rim” (featuring Tupac Shakur)
1994: “A Low Down Dirty Shame” (featuring Keenan Ivory Wayans)
1996: “The Great White Hype” (featuring Samuel L. Jackson)
1997: “The Sixth Man” (featuring Marlon Wayans)
1999: “An American Love Story”
2000: “The Ladies Man” (featuring Tim Meadows)
2001: “The Trumpet of the Swan” (featuring Reese Witherspoon)
2001: “The Brothers” (featuring Morris Chestnut)
2001: “Two Can Play That Game” (featuring Vivaca Fox)
2002: “Serving Sara” (featuring Matthew Perry)
2003: “Deliver Us from Eva” (featuring L.L. Cool J)
2003: “Head of State” (featuring Chris Rock)
2004: “Breakin’ All the Rules” (featuring Jamie Foxx)
2005: “King’s Ransom” (featuring Anthony Anderson)
2006: “Save the Last Dance 2” (featuring Izabella Miko)
2007: “I Think I Love My Wife” (featuring Chris Rock)
2007: “This Christmas” (featuring Idris Elba)
2008: “Thunder” (featuring Stanley Clark and Victor Wooten)
2009: “Good Hair” (featuring Chris Rock as SMV)
2009: “Obsessed” (featuring Beyoncé Knowles)