When you think of great jazz fusion bass player's names like Jaco Pastorious come to mind, in fact if you do a search using Google for jazz fusion bass players his name is the first to come up. I think there is another name that should be in the same league as Jaco, his name is Marcus Miller. I really cannot think of any active bass player that is better right now. Miller has it nailed down for eclectic bass playing, period. He is veteran studio man and has been on countless recordings. His website discography list an astounding number of titles (500 and counting) that has him credited for performing on. I do not think there are many recording artist, if any, that could even come close to that breadth and scope of work.
Miller has a few solo albums of his own, and the latest and his best work is this two-disc set The Ozell Tapes/The Official Bootleg-Marcus Miller Live. In the span of two CDs, Miller takes you through lively and funky covers ("I Loves You Porgy" and "People Make the World Go 'Round"), his personal tributes to the inspirational and legendary music of Miles Davis ("So What") and John Coltrane ("Lonnie's Lament"), plus his own brand of original grooves ("Scoop," "Panther," and more). He does a wild version of the Talking Heads classic fusion-funk-rock track "Burning Down The House." The tour de force of the entire set is "Miles/Marcus Medley: Hannibal/Amandla/Tutu." It is the embodiment of jazz-fusion and it runs for over 19 minutes, leaving no doubt who the man is when it comes to playing more than one instrument and doing it with flair, excitement, taste, and with some kind of unexplainable spiritual synchronization with the ghost of all the greats he pays tribute to.
Miller is not only a producer; he is a polished and perceptive studio genius that also plays many different instruments besides the bass including the bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and keyboards. Who in their right mind would not want this man in the studio to assist in recording an album? He has everything going for him and unmatched experienced crafting genres of music such as fusion, soul, smooth, crossover and progressive jazz. That is about nearly every sub-genre there is in jazz! Marcus is one incredible talent on display in a live setting. I loved the M2 album in 2001 but I never imagined that he was this versatile, multi-talented, and crossover adept as what I heard on these two wonderful discs, wow! Usually expressions like "Kick Ass" are reserved for rock albums, I am making an exception to the rule right here, this live CD set kicks ass!
Graceful like a bird and powerful like a panther, this is Marcus Miller and this is his music. If you do not check out the brilliance of this man’s artistry, you will surely be missing one of the greatest performers that have ever walked on this planet in our time.