Byron Miller

Git Wit Me

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A top indie label in the early going of smooth jazz, Nova made the groove into the urban market with the bass player's funk-drenched yet often silky debut, which boasts the likes of R&B/jazz's finest in Kirk Whalum, Rodney Franklin, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, and the late George Howard. While strictly commercial endeavors like the rap-spiced "Games" and the so-so ballads "You That I Need" and "Taylor Made" are certainly in the mix, you have to dig into the deeper edges of the bouncy "FM" (the group he leads with Franklin) and Brenda Russell's "Dinner With Gershwin" to find Miller making any sort of statement with his instrument. But when he's hot, he's hot, and for a first release, this eight-tune collection shows a considerable amount of sleekness and finesse. The improvisational moments Miller gives himself will make you cry out for more; unfortunately, this is one of those strong albums whose one flaw is being too commercial for its own sake.