Review By: Michelle King
Marcus Miller "Afrodeezia"
Label: Blue Note
Celebrating the release of his new #1 CD Afrodeezia, Marcus Miller and his magnificent band of musicians brought Miller's work to life on the intimate BB King stage. With high energy worthy of an outdoor stadium, out came Detroit, full of funk and strong bass, hot yet smooth, intense with such softness.
What immediately became apparent was the incredible collaboration and respect between Marcus and each of the musicians onstage. Many times when you see a performer of Marcus Miller's caliber, the concert is about the star, the interim moments when the other musicians take their solos, then back to the star. On Marcus Miller's stage, the star is the music, and everyone there performs to communicate, uplift and bring the music to ever higher levels. So even if you heard a song before, you feel like what you are hearing will bring you to new places you haven't visited yet.
The second song, B's River was steady movement, Marcus, guiding us with his guembri strings. Mino Cinelu, played nature itself (shells) and more to accent our steps. Brett Williams on keyboards made the water dance with gorgeous fluidity. Next stop: back to the Motor City for an original and inspired Papa Was a Rolling Stone. Marcus's opening notes made an iconic song that much better, Lee Hogans on trumpet was soaring. Adam Agati on electric guitar, engaged in a fantastic conversation with Marcus on bass. Charles Haynes kept the jam pumping with an ecstatic, precise beat. Honoring beloved musicians Joe Sample and George Duke, We Were There brought us the rhythms of Brazil with a generous helping of grace and respect.
And that brings us to the final song, Goree. On your CD, you know you are hearing something transformative and beautiful. Listening live, seeing Marcus move around the stage, playing the bass clarinet, and offering gentle percussion whispers to Alex Han on on utterly superb sax, you are inside the center of the music and it becomes a part of you.
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