Marcus Miller

Live & More

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Marcus Miller is one of the great hyphenates of contemporary rhythm and jazz, equally successful as a producer (Luther Vandross, David Sanborn), songwriter (numerous Vandross hits, James/Sanborn's "Maputo"), and artist in his own right. It's not easy to capture every aspect of the man who has been called the "Superman of Soul" on one disc, but Live and More -- which draws from sold out performances in Los Angeles, Montreux, and throughout Japan -- gives it a solid effort. While Miller plays everything but the kitchen sink himself (bass, bass clarinet, guitar, and vocoder), the genuine excitement here emerges from giving space to and interacting and stretching out with his sea of all-stars. Miller wrote the moody trumpet-led seduction "Tutu" for Miles, but Michael "Patches" Stewart carries on in those muted footsteps (complemented by a flügelhorn solo) above a controlled Miller bassline and Poogie Bell's subtle drum brushes. Miller emerges as a halfway decent singer on the Crusaders-like "Funny" but leaves the bulk of the instrumental work to Kenny Garrett's gentle soprano and Hiram Bullock's increasingly raucous guitar. Miller also offers the studio ballad "Sophie" on which he adds yet another voice to his repertoire -- soprano sax.

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