Marcus Miller: Renaissance Man
"With Renaissance, what I really wanted was to return to some of the older values," Miller says. "I'm really excited about this band I have now and wanted to capture the band in its essence of live performance. For me at this point I thought it was important to get back to that aesthetic." In addition to trumpeter Brown, alto saxophonist Han, pianist/keyboardist Bowers, guitarist Agati, and drummer Cato, the album also features veteran keyboardists Federico Gonzalez Pena and Bobby Sparks, guitarist Adam Rogers and trumpeter Sean Jones.
When asked about his favorite tune on the CD, Miller replies, "I like "Redemption." When I wrote that song I recognized I had the center of the album. I intrinsically knew that tunes would go before it and after it. The song represents where I'm at right now." He also mentioned he felt good about his decision to close the album with a tribute to Michael Jackson, a beautiful solo bass rendition of "I'll Be there."
Business Savvy and Sage Advice
Exemplifying Miller's international lifestyle, Renaissance was mastered by Darcy Proper at Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum, Netherlands. It was mixed by David Isaac, Taka Honda and Bruce Miller. All of the music on Renaissance is produced and arranged by Miller; he also wrote eight of the 13 tunes and served as executive producer, along with Harold Goode and Harry Martin. As an executive producer, Miller was involved in the coordination, funding and project management of Renaissance.
"The producer on an album project is like the director of a movie. The job is to get the best performance out of all the artists. The executive producer is somebody who helps make that production possible. I've always paid attention to the business side," Miller says. "When we did Tutu, I had to submit a business plan. Miles respected and appreciated that about me. These days no one has the luxury of just being an artist and waiting for somebody else to make them a star. You have to get out there, utilize technology, hook up your social media. Nowadays if you spend all your time practicing and ignore the other sideyou'll end up being a community musician. You have to find a balance to get your music out in the world."
It's not easy, he admitted. And it's not new. "Mozart had to figure out how to get paid so he could eat," Miller says. "Beethoven had to figure it outthey also had to find somebody to help pay their bills." Sage words indeed, from a musical master who has obviously taken his own advice: a true-to-life "Renaissance" man.
Marcus Miller, Renaissance (Concord, 2012)
Marcus Miller, Tutu Revisited (Dreyfus, 2011)
Marcus Miller, A Night in Monte Carlo (Concord, 2011)
Marcus Miller, Tales (PRA, 1994)
Marcus Miller, The Sun Don't Lie (PRA, 1993)
Miles Davis, Tutu (Warner Bros., 1986)
Luther Vandross, Give Me the Reason (Epic, 1986)