I recently had the pleasure of broadcasting live from the Island of Curacao during the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival. The festival line up was amazing. I saw Joe Sample with Randy Crawford, Santana, India Arie and a host of others. One of the true performance highlights came from the Superman of Soul, Marcus Miller! A good portion of his set focused on music from his brand new CD, Renaissance! It features quite a bit of younger musicians in Saxophonist Alex Hann, Drummer Louis Cato, Trumpeters Sean Jones and Maurice Brown with a few other special guests. To watch Marcus in action with these younger musicians was incredible. It’s almost as if their youth has invigorated his sound. You too can hear that energy on the new recording. Renaissance features 13 cuts, mostly original tunes, with a few classics like Ivan Lins classic Setembro. I’ve always been a fan of Quincy Jones’ version of this tune, but Marcus gives it new life . Instead of a Brazilian feel, he goes Latin with the help of vocalist Gretchen Parlato and Ruben Blades. The group also gets funky for a 9 minute ride on a WAR classic, Slippin’ Into Darkness in which Marcus allows the band to stretch out a bit! Add to that some exceptional writing from a man that has played with likes of Miles Davis to Luther Vandross. Renaissance is a solid recording that features a band that has been touring together for the last two years. Their cohesiveness is evident in the way they finish each other musical statements. You’ll find Renaissance on the Concord recording label. It’s yet another classic from one of the best bassist ever to do it, Marcus Miller. It’s our CD of month here on WEAA. Listen daily to hear cuts from this release!
Marcellus “Bassman” Shepard
Music Director/ WEAA-FM