One of the most highly regarded and influential electric bass players on the scene today, two-time Grammy Award winner Marcus Miller is the classic triple-threat. As a poll-wining bassist, accomplished composer-arranger and longtime bandleader, Miller has made his indelible mark on the music since his days as valued sideman to Miles Davis back in the early 1980s. Bass Player magazine includes him on its list of ten most influential jazz players of this generation.

With his distinctive style — a unique combination of slapping, deep groove playing and melodic improvisation in a post-Jaco Pastorius mode — Miller has brought his impressive technical skills to countless sessions as a first-call studio musician. His characteristic bass sound can be heard on pop hits from Bill Wither’s “Just The Two Of Us” to Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” to recordings by Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Lala Hathaway, David Sanborn, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Eric Clapton, George Benson, Elton John and Bryan Ferry. That same signature sound has fueled Miller’s 20 albums as a leader, his most recent being 2018’s Laid Back, a followup to 2015’s acclaimed Afrodeezia, where he collaborated with musicians west and north Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean to honor the ancestors brought from the Motherland to these shores during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Says Miller of his latest project, “After Afrodeezia, where I did a lot of traveling all over the world, I thought it would be cool to bring into the mix, some of the influences of our time that I was listening to right here at home. My band and the guest artists I recruited to collaborate with on this album are all versatile enough to play music ranging from be-bop to hip-hop. That made the musical mix I wanted to pursue on this album very possible.”

Born in Brooklyn on June 14, 1959 and raised in Jamaica, Queens, Miller was a multi-instrumentalist in his teenage years, eventually focusing on the electric bass in his earliest gigs during the mid ‘70s with the likes of flutist Bobbi Humphrey, keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith, Polish violinist Michal Urbaniak, saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. and drummer Lenny White. He was a member of the Miles Davis comeback band of 1981, appearing on a succession of albums — The Man with the Horn, We Want Miles, Star People, Decoy and You’re Under Arrest — before emerging as a primary composer-arranger on 1986’s Tutu and subsequent Davis recordings, 1987’s Music from Siesta and 1989’s Amandla. His 1993 album The Sun Don’t Lie contained his original tribute tunes “King Is Gone (For Miles)” and “Mr. Pastorius” along with an incredible slap version of Jaco Pastorius’ chops-busting anthem, “Teen Town.” He further distinguished himself as a multi-instrumental virtuoso and seasoned composer-arranger with 1994’s Tales, 2001’s Grammy-winning M2, 2005’s Silver Rain, 2007’s Free and 2008’s Marcus Miller. In addition to his acclaimed albums, Miler has a lengthy list of film and television credits to his name, including Spike Lee’s 1988 film School Daze, Chris Rock’s 2009 film Good Hair, Kevin Hart’s 2014 starring vehicle About Last Night, 2017’s Oscar nominated Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman as a young Thurgood Marshall, and the TV series Everybody Hates Chris, currently in syndication. Miller is also the host of the weekly radio show “Miller Time” on SiriusXM and he hosts the popular Blue Note At Sea jazz cruise each January.

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Exit Zero Jazz Festival @ Paul Schmidtchen Theater