Updated: Jan 3
Marcus Miller is in many ways my biggest bass hero and thus role model. The first time I heard Marcus Miller was at a gig where there was a saxophonist who introduced me to the Miles Davis album 'We Want Miles' released on Columbia Records in 1982. It was in many ways a super modern version of jazz, where you clearly sense Miles Davis' searching and innovative way of creating music. Underneath it all lies a young Marcus Miller, laying down the low end with his characteristically deep and at the same time distinct sonorous bass sound. And it is precisely Miller's sound that sets him apart from other bass players. Miller was one of the first to mount active pickups on his 70' Fender Jazz Bass. You can always hear when Marcus is playing whether it is on other people's records or one of his own releases and isn't that exactly what all musicians are dreaming of? Defining your own sound is one of the greatest things you can achieve as a musician. In addition to the active pickups Miller almost always plays with fresh strings that provide plenty of headspace, clarity and the fine overtones become clearer. When Marcus hits the open E it sounds almost akin to the sound of the stroke of an expensive grand piano. Soundy, deep and clear. For me it's a complete bass sound because it contains both bottom, midrange and top. If we take a closer look at Marcus Miller's playing we hear lots of creativity and joy in his playing. Marcus has the ability to both lay a solid foundation and at the same time use the instrument solo on a completely mind-blowing level. My favorite album is Renaissance (2012) and it's a good place to start if you want to check out Miller. I had the pleasure of hearing my bass hero at Musikhuset Aarhus in July 2019 and the wild thing is, that his bass is also totally sharp in the soundscape live which really impressed me. After the concert I had the pleasure of talking to keyboardist James Francies and trumpeter Russell Gunn which led my thoughts to Miles Davis who I also managed to hear in Aarhus back in the 80's. Russel Gunn also remembered all the years of publication on the records we were talking about, including 'We Want Miles' from 1982. Marcus Miller has a collaboration with Sire (bass brand) and they make great instruments at an affordable price and it is a good option if you're after the Marcus Miller sound. Marcus Miller is centrally located in my bass book.
Keyboardist James Francies me and trumpeter Russell Gunn, Aarhus 2019.