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1995 release, heavy on the electronics/samples & programming.
Marcus Miller has served as bassist, arranger, and producer for everyone from Luther Vandross to Miles Davis, and on his fourth solo album, Tales, Miller tries to reconnect the fractured fragments of African American music. He uses samples of recorded interviews with his older musical heroes to set up his own instrumental interpretations of that musical history. For example, spoken-word samples from Davis, Charlie Parker, and Billie Holiday lead into "The Blues," a midtempo blues groove that features both live drums and programmed drums, both jazzy horn lines from saxophonist Kenny Garrett and Larry Graham-like funk lines from Miller himself. The result is not jazz but R&B instrumentals with the sort of smarts and drama this genre rarely delivers anymore. Unlike so many fusion albums that settle for show off virtuosity over predictable grooves, Miller's Tales boasts thought-out compositions that bring together disparate elements in unexpected and rewarding ways. The title track, for example, which opens with a brief monologue by rapper Q-Tip, builds its catchy theme from a sample of the Pointer Sisters' "Yes, We Can Can," features Miller's inventive electric bass lines as the lead melody and then turns the song over to Michael Stewart's expert imitation of Davis' muted trumpet phrases. --Geoffrey Himes
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Top Customer Reviews
This album has the best arrangement of Strange Fruit ever. Haunting, swampy, rainy, hot, southern, bass Clarinet. Has stuck with me for years. This album is pure genius.
There is some serious Bass Clarinet playing on this album. Totally original, funky, R and B, funk, rap, jazz, soul, blues, bass in your face, bass clarinet singing, great guest artists, Bill Cosby, Joe Sample, Miles Davis....
On my short list, if I am stranded on the proverbial Desert Island.