Marcus Miller Biography
Marcus Miller (born William Henry Marcus Miller Jr.) is an American jazz composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a bass guitarist. He appeared on over 500 albums by artists such as Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Herbie Hancock, Mariah Carey, The Crusaders, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joe Walsh, Jean-Michel Jarre, Grover Washington Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Bernard Wright, Kazumi Watanabe, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J and Flavio Sala among others.
Marcus Miller Age
Marcus Miller was born in Brooklyn, New York, United States on 14th June, 1959 (59 years) as of 2018.
Marcus Miller Family
He was born in Brooklyn, New York City, in 1959, to William Miller (a church organist and choir director) and Brenda Miller. He has four siblings and is also related to jazz pianist Wynton Kelly. He is classically trained as a clarinetist and also plays keyboards, saxophone and guitar. He began to work regularly in New York City, eventually playing bass and writing music for jazz flutist Bobbi Humphrey and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith.
Marcus Miller Career
After being discovered by Michał Urbaniak in 1975, he spent approximately 15 years performing as a session musician, observing how band leaders operated. He also did a lot of arranging and producing during that time. He was a member of the Saturday Night Live band 1988–1989.
He has played bass on over 500 recordings including those of Luther Vandross, Grover Washington Jr., Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, McCoy Tyner, Weldon Irvine, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol.
He won the “Most Valuable Player” award (given by NARAS to recognize studio musicians) three years in a row and was subsequently awarded “player emeritus” status and retired from eligibility. He began to write his own music and make his own records, putting a band together and touring regularly in the nineties.
Between 1988 and 1990 he appeared regularly both as a musical director and also as the house band bass player in the Sunday Night Band during two seasons of Sunday Night on NBC late-night television. He co-wrote several songs on the Miles Davis album Tutu, including its title track. 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, he also wrote “Da Butt”, which was featured in Spike Lee’s School Daze.
He hosts a jazz history and influences show called Miller Time with Marcus Miller on the Real Jazz channel of Sirius XM Holdings satellite radio system.
Miller has also established a parallel career as a film score composer , having written numerous scores for films. Currently he has his own band.
Marcus Miller Net Worth
He has an estimated net worth of $5 million.
Marcus Miller Tour
Marcus Miller Events:
- Thu, 7 Feb 09:00, El Cinco, San Juan, Puerto Rico San Juan
- Fri, 8 Feb 09:00 Mohács District, Hungary Bár
- Sat, 9 Feb 09:00 Broward County, FL, United States Fort Lauderdale
- Sat, 23 Feb 09:00 Broward County, FL, United States Fort Lauderdale
- Sun, 24 Feb 09:00 Samaná Province, Dominican Republic Samana
- Wed, 27 Feb 09:00 St. Louis, MO, United States Entertainment Cruise Productions
- Sun, 26 May 20:00 London, United Kingdom Royal Festival Hall
- Wed, 29 May 21:00 Barcelona, Spain.
- 1983: Suddenly (Warner Bros.)
- 1984: Marcus Miller (Warner Bros.)
- 1993: The Sun Don’t Lie (Dreyfus Jazz)
- 1995: Tales (Dreyfus Jazz)
- 2001: M² (Telarc)
- 2005: Silver Rain (Koch)
- 2007: Free (3 Deuces)
- 2008: Marcus(Concord)
- 2008: Thunder (Heads Up) – with SMV
- 2008: The Other Tapes (Dreyfus Jazz)
- 2012: Renaissance (Dreyfus Jazz)
- 2015: Afrodeezia (Victor)
- 2018: Laid Black (Blue Note)
- 1998: Live & More
- 2002: The Ozell Tapes Live: The Official Bootleg
- 2004: Dreyfus Night in Paris (with Michel Petrucciani, Biréli Lagrène,
- Kenny Garrett and Lenny White, recorded in 1994)
- 2008: Panther – Live
- 2012: Live in Lugano – A Jazz Hour with Marcus Miller, July 2008
- 2010: A Night in Monte Carlo – Live 2009
- 2011: Tutu Revisited – Live 2010
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Marcus Miller Interview
Tone, Style, and Evolution
HOW IMPORTANT IS TONE FOR A MUSICIAN?
Marcus: When I started playing bass—I was probably 13 years old, something like that—I wasn’t really at the point where I could tell the difference between the important elements of music: technique, intonation, tone. So I was just going by instinct, just playing the bass. I had a Fender Jazz Bass, and whatever sounded good, even if it was accidentally arrived at, I stuck with it. Later on, I realized that tone is the first thing that impresses people about your sound. That’s the first thing that people are struck by.
That first note, it makes an impression. I know a lot of great musicians who play some amazing music, but their tone isn’t that great, and you have to get past that as a listener. You have to go, “Ok, my first impression wasn’t that great, but man, he’s playing some great stuff.” But the really, truly great musicians who really make a full impact, to me they have the whole package, and the first element is tone. You hear a guy play that first note and you go, whoa! That’s everything, man. First impressions, right?
All the bass players I admired had a signature sound. Yes, they all had great technique, but you heard one note, two notes, and you knew it was Stanley Clarke, you knew it was Jaco Pastorius, you knew it was James Jamerson. And I really wanted to see if I could find something, maybe not on that level, but something that was easily identifiable as me. Once I got a sound that I liked, I didn’t fool around too much with it. Same bass, same settings, and I just changed the notes, I just changed what I’m playing. But I didn’t really fool around with the sound too much because I felt like I had something that was really identifiable, and that’s so hard to find as a musician. So tone is everything.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU’D FOUND YOUR SOUND?
Marcus: I was talking to a mentor of mine, a fantastic drummer named Lenny White from my neighborhood in Jamaica, Queens in New York, and I said to him, “Man, I want my own sound, how do I get my own sound?” I was probably 17 at the time, and we had these amazing musicians in the neighborhood who I admired. When we went to these jam sessions, I’d be walking to the club from my car parked two blocks away, and I already knew who was in there because the sounds were so identifiable, even from down the street.
So I’m saying to Lenny White, “Man I really want my own sound, how do you do it?” And he says, “You can’t worry about it, you just keep playing, and keep playing, and then one day, you’re going to hear a recording of yourself and go, ‘Oh that’s me.’” So he gave me some real abstract Karate Kid kind of instructions on how to get your own sound.
Later on, when I’m 21, I get a call from Miles Davis, and he says, “Come to the studio, I’m going to record.” I ran to the studio, and we played, and I’m like, “This is Miles Davis, man, I got to play something good.” And then we heard the playback in the control room, and I remember saying to myself, “Oh wow, that’s me.” I recognized that sound as me. And once you find your own sound, you got to hold on to that, man. You got to hold on tight, because that’s something that a lot of people don’t ever get.
So, I said to myself, now that I have a sound, now I can go to the next level, now I can start to be creative, now I can start to try different techniques, improve my technique, improve my creativity, because I got the first element, the most important element. Sound was really the launching pad for the rest of my playing.
HOW IMPORTANT IS STYLE FOR A MUSICIAN?
Marcus: Once when I was talking to Boz Scaggs, he said something that I’ll never forget: “People don’t buy technique. They don’t buy anything but style.” That’s what draws people to an artist—your style, your view of the world, the way you present yourself, but more importantly, the way you see things. You got a lot of great musicians, and then you got artists, and not all great musicians are artists.
I get demos from musicians, and they say, “Check out my demo, I want to make a record.” And the first song is a funk song, the second song is a salsa, and the third song is a bossanova. I say, “Each one is like a completely different player.” And they say, “Well, I want people to know I’m well rounded, that I can do it all.”
WHY WORK WITH DUNLOP?
Marcus: So the thing about having your own identifiable sound, your own identifiable music, your own identifiable style, is that you still have to grow. You still have to figure out a way, particularly if you’re playing jazz music or any kind of improvisational music to maintain your identity. And it’s a very tricky thing. Because if you stay in the same place, then you’re staying in the same place. And if you change too quickly, you might lose who you are.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO EVOLVE YOUR SOUND?
Marcus: I always feel like I want to continue to evolve, like I want to push forward. And people ask me, why? Why do you feel like you need to change when you have such a good thing going? But it’s boring otherwise. You know what I mean? I really think that if you’re an artist, your responsibility is to show people the world as it exists today through your eyes. That’s what all artists do. It doesn’t even have to be music, it can be writers, photographers, comedians, they all do the same thing, they all present us with the world as it exists now, but through their own filter, and that’s what makes them interesting.
In the ’8os, everything was really, like, techno, and everything was clean, and everything was very exact because we had just discovered these machines that we could make music with, so we were playing really, like almost in a robotic fashion a lot of times. Because that was where the world was. We had just been introduced to these computers—how do we learn to live with them?
And for a while, computers were dominating. Everything sounded like this, and we found cool ways to do that, but now people are a lot more comfortable with the technology, people are a lot more comfortable with computers. And now things are starting to sound a little bit more natural, at least in a lot of areas of the world and a lot of areas of music.
So for me, I want my sound to sound less high tech. I want to still have a full range of bass and treble, but I want to get a little bit more growl, I want to get a little bit more urgency in my sound. And that’s how I used to play back when I was first starting. In New York, everything was always aggressive, and people didn’t want to hear jazz, so if you were going to play jazz, you had to play with an attitude. We were like 16, 17 years old, and people were like, I don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re really into it, I guess I got to respect them. That’s how we used to hit it. So now, I’m wanting to get back to that.
And in my band, I got like 21, 22, 25 year olds who are feeling like they want to prove themselves, like they want to make a statement, and that’s inspiring me. I want to make sure my sound is in there pushing them.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE BASS PLAYER?
Marcus: A lot of bass players who are solo artists are just sitting there waiting for their solos. But for me, I’m doing just as much work when I’m playing behind you—sometimes more work. It’s a shame that a lot of young bass players don’t recognize how important driving a band is. But that’s what a bass player does, man. You drive the band.
I’m really into that role.—it’s as important to me as playing a great solo. And with these strings, man, with this sound I’m going for, I want to make sure that I’m driving you, that I’m pushing everybody, that I’m pushing the musicians to be creative and reach new heights.
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AS AN ARTIST?
Marcus: When I first started playing music, I just wanted to be a good musician. My father’s a musician, his father’s a musician—I come from a musical family—so I just wanted to step into the shoes that were laid out for me. And then I’m in my neighborhood in New York, everybody had a band, and I just wanted to be in a good band and just be known as a good musician.
And what happens is that, as you get older, you start realizing the possibilities with music. So first, I just wanted to play the bass, I just wanted to be good. Then I saw somebody who had just written a song, he said, “Hey man, here’s a song I wrote.” And I said, “Wow, I would love to write a song on my own.” And that became a goal. And then I saw arrangers making sure that everybody’s part worked together, and I got into that. And then producing. At each step, I just looked to see what else is available from that new step. I’d reach a certain level and go, okay, now what?
And so, for me, at this point, I’m still going, okay, now what? I’m recognizing how powerful music is, how it can communicate things that people have difficulty communicating with words. So we’re playing in Africa, we’re playing in Russia, we’re playing in China, we’re playing all over the world, and we’re able to bring people together who normally wouldn’t come together like that.
So now, what I’m feeling, is how effective, how powerful music can be. That’s my next goal, to take advantage of that, to communicate, try to establish goodwill around the world. It sounds really kind of corny, but when you’re on the stage, man, and you can’t say hello in the audience’s language, but you got like, six, seven thousand people all moving together, all sharing the same emotions, you begin to realize that we all have a lot in common. We just need to establish that first, and then work out the details.
Let’s at least establish that we have a universal commonality, and music is the best example of that.
Adopted from: lifestyle.jimdunlop.com
Marcus Miller Power