Marcus Miller – M2
(Telarc – 2001)
by Ray Redmond
Marcus Miller, who has been dubbed the Superman of Soul, has assembled quite a collection of superheroes for his new release… Hubert Laws, Lenny White, Chaka Khan, Maceo and Fred, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Paul Jackson Jr., Bernard Wright, Branford Marsalis, Raphael Saddiq and a few more even! Sometime you can get a lot of good musicians together and produce average results, sometime it clicks. This Clicked, and that alone is good enough reason to buy it.
The Coltrane tune “Lonnie’s Lament” comes our funkily-modern (this is MY favorite). I found the remake of Talking Heads “Burning Down The House” to be a bit flat… technically well done but no GROOVE. “Amazing Grace” (featuring Chaka’s expressive scat-vocals) and “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” are also smooth and heavily -Marcus-flavored covers. “It’s me again” is a soulful strut that features solos showing off Miller’s expertise and skill with the bass.
“Nikki’s Groove” is more reminiscent of his R&B album releases, combining a catchy melody with some POPPIN bass licks. A nice tune, but a little commercial for my tastes. Although “Cousin John” is neither the funkiest nor the smoothest track on this release, is the most interesting and least commercial of the lot (excluding perhaps the interludes). Wayne Shorter’s expressiveness compliments the Miller bass runs in an avant-garde sort of way. Once again Marcus Miller has put together a solid release. It may not be Grammy material, but it’s belongs in your trophy case.