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Renaissance

4.7 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 7, 2012
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$12.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 15 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

A generation is roughly defined as a period of about 30 years. 30 years ago in the early 80s - America was rolling with Ronald Reagan at the wheel and his conservative back to family values tenets. A similar traditionalism was also being adopted by several prominent up-and-coming jazz musicians. While most of the then-young flock was looking back, Marcus Miller was looking ahead. By the middle of that decade in 1986, Marcus - the musician, composer and producer - was at the helm of one of the most impactful modern jazz masterpieces of the era with some futuristic roots music he composed for the legendary Miles Davis entitled Tutu.

Now with Renaissance in 2012, Marcus Miller surveys the landscape of not just music but society as a whole. In the same profound way that anointed gospel-soul singer Sam Cooke prophesized 50 years before in 1963, Miller feels that a change is gonna come. And just as with Tutu, he is ahead of the storm with Renaissance, fortified by a team of hungry young players that includes trumpeters Sean Jones and Maurice Brown, alto saxophonist Alex Han, drummer Louis Cato, guitarists Adam Agati and Adam Rogers, and keyboardist Kris Bowers along with veteran keys wizards Federico Gonzalez Peña and Bobby Sparks, Miller is creating the soundtrack for this musical, cultural and spiritual revolution.

I feel like a page is turning, Miller muses. The last of our heroes are checking out and we are truly entering a new era. Politically, things have polarized and are coming to a head. Musically, we ve got all these cool ways to play and share music - MP3 files, internet radio and satellite radio - but the music is not as revolutionary as the media. It s time for a rebirth.

Renaissance finds Miller offering up an especially emotive 13-song collection that includes eight richly inspired original compositions that swing from a tip of the porkpie to the CTI Records sound of the `70s ( CEE-TEE-EYE ) to an introspective and ultimately hope-filled rumination about the island off the coast of Dakar in Africa known as Gorée (Go-ray). Renaissance also includes five cover songs that canvas works by soul-jazz culture band WAR, new wave-soul starlet Janelle Monáe, New York jazz dignitary Weldon Irvine, Brazilian musical ambassador Ivan Lins and Christian composer Luther Mano Hanes. Though the CD primarily features Miller s smokin new band, it also features special guest vocalists Dr. John, Rubén Blades and Gretchen Parlato.

Renaissance is a word that resonates on a lot of different levels for me, Miller explains. It s about getting back to the essential aspects of art. I m focusing less on production and more on composition, so this is a very clear album for me. People have often called me a Renaissance Man. I always understood that to mean someone who s got their creative hands in a lot of different things but not on a surface level. Like Leonardo da Vinci: he wasn t just dabbling in things, he was going deep. I would really like to be that kind of guy. Over the past three decades of my career, I ve been blessed to produce a wide variety of music that means something to people. I didn t just do some clichés in different genres, like a guy who says he can speak 20 languages but all he s saying is how are you and can I get something to eat. The real challenge is can you communicate something of substance to the people through these languages that you speak?
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Digital Booklet: Renaissance
Digital Booklet: Renaissance
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 7, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Concord Jazz
  • ASIN: B008BGNKIO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,428 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Here we have the new album by master electric bassist & multi instrumentalist Marcus Miller. I'v been a fan of Marcus since his album Tales & in my opinion this album is his best work yet even topping the awesome grammy winning M2. The music follows Marcus's regular formula which is to mix originals & hip cover material usually from the past with instrumental & vocal tunes. Marcus follows that formula to the letter getting one of my favorite female vocalists Gretchen Parlato to guest along side Rueben Blades on track 5 Ivan Lins "Brazilian Wedding Song". Dr. John does a grooving version of Janelle Monae's hit "Tightrope"on track 12. The rest of the music is made up of instrumentals written by Miller with some very cool covers given Miller's signature urban jazz funk treatment.

The musicians are some of music's finest with a big portion of the music handled by Marcus's road band with Louis Cato on drums, Kris Bowers on piano & Fender Rhodes, Adam Agati on electric guitar, Alex Han on alto sax & Maurice Brown on trumpet.

There are also guest appearances by Adam Rogers on acoustic & electric guitar on five tracks who's one of NYC's best jazz guitarists. Trumpeter Sean Jones appears on four tracks including track 9 Wendel Irwing's Mr. Clean made famous by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard.

Here's a few musical moments that are personal high points. The album opens with another potential bass anthem "Detroit" like "Power" was to M2.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have followed the career of Marcus Miller since his early days when he collaborated with David Sanborn, and he is one of the most talented bassist on the planet. This CD is, by far, THE BEST work he has every created and serves as proof that the sky is certainly not the limit for Marcus Miller! Like a fine wine, he just gets better and better.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this album about three months ago based on all the 5-star recommendations here. Since then I've given it plenty of chances, but it is simply not one of those albums that I can't stop listening to - a prerequisite for a 5-star rating in my book. I find myself turning it off instead.

Miller is a obviously a predigious talent and Alex Tan deserves more renown for his clever and original soloing. But Miller is a better bass player than a composer. The charts here don't hold my interest. It's no accident the most engaging track is Janelle Monae's "Tightrope". Too many of the other pieces here are simply boring and repetitive. The kind that sound great on the preview, but wear out their welcome over 4 minutes.

Maybe Miller's style is just not something I'm into, but I bet in 3 years a lot of the 5-star reviewers will be wondering why they thought this album was so great.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been following Marcus since 1990 when I picked up Grover Washington Jr.'s Winelight album. On the first playing I was astounded and thrilled by the bass playing. Creative, innovative, and downright excellent: that is Marcus Miller. About a month ago Marcus came to the Dakota Club in Minneapolis; I took three friends telling them in advance that they would owe me a life long debt for the experience. Marcus did not disappoint. After the concert, it got even better as I had a moment to chat with Marcus and get his autograph on Renaissance. Marcus is clearly a gentleman who is quite comfortable in his talents, generous with his time, and appreciative of his fans. So, get this album, and go out of your way to meet him in person. It will be a human experience you will not forget.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
You don't often hear music where the electric bass is the lead, but you have it here. This is pure, smooth jazz, deep and smokey like a fine scotch. Take a sip, catch a buzz, close your eyes, tilt your yead back, and enjoy. Seriously. This ain't party music. This defines mellow.
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Firstly let me echo the sentiments of Jonathan Guarriello by saying this is agruably Marcus' best work since M2, and should merit a Grammy nomination if not win the award outright. Moving along...

If you're a longtime fan of Marcus Miller's work you have to feel that he's been keeping this project in his musical backpocket for quite sometime, waiting for the right group of musicians to come along. Well, wait no longer. Personally I feel that MM could have named this record 'Exhumation'; because it has unearthed a series of musical expressions that MM has implied at times, but not actually expressed on previous albums.

In an interview years ago I recall Marcus saying to the effect that 'one of the challenges of being a bandleader/MD is trying to catch the players when they starting to peak. You try not to over/under rehearse them so they don't get bored or otherwise lose focus.' MM's former employer, Miles Davis, used this idea masterfully for his landmark 'Kind of Blue' album. In my opinion this is what makes 'Renaissance' the most exciting 'bass guitar as a lead instrument' record MM has done since 'The Sun Don't Lie'.

MM is well noted as a high-caliber multi-instrumentist on par with cats like Prince. However, this recording illustrates MM's evolution as a band leader/composer/arranger. He sticking primarily to the bass instruments(electric, fretless, upright, bass clarinet) while intrusting the other instruments to his bandmates. This is also very reminiscent of the aforementioned Mr. Davis. Trust is a underrated aspect of really good bands. To get a group of uber-talented young cats to function so unselfishly but still bring the passion and energy needed for a great performance is remarkable in this 'look and listen to me, me, me' music era.
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