Marcus Miller performing live is indeed a very euphoric experience, and those who have never been so fortunate might as well grab a copy of his latest CD “A Night in Monte-Carlo,” which is due for a February 1st release.
The CD is a live audio documentation of one of Marcus’ treasured performances in Monaco back in 2008. Marcus is backed up by the L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo and is also joined by trumpeter Roy Hargrove and guitarist Raul Midon. Out of the box, the first track on the CD gives you a good idea of what is to come musically: all the twists and turns of an engaging plot that you would never expect.
Appropriately titled “Blast,” the first track opens with tabla, bells and sitar sounds that are soothing and therapeutic. Enter Marcus with his funky bass heating things up and taking the music to another welcoming direction. Miles Davis’ “So What” takes a hauntingly beautiful turn trapped in melodic intro arrangement; hold on to that moment because soon it’s going to get a little bit smooth and jazzy in some paces within the song. The contrast works as things are kept smooth and sweet to the very end of this track. Listen out for the brilliant string work from the orchestra; it can give you goose-bumps, not to mention Marcus’ solo fret dance within, which is truly genius.
Bass and acoustic guitar go well together; add a strong and melodic voice and you have yourself a tasty treat in the finger-snapping “State of Mind.” Marcus continues to show his bass playing prowess on his brilliant treatment of a few standards such as “I Loves You Porgy” and “I’m Glad There is You,” the latter which features Roy Hargrove on flugelhorn adding romance and mystique to this already enchanting song. Also on the CD is “Medley: O Mio Babbino Caro/ Mas Que Nada,” “Your Amazing Grace,” a track that is contemporary without loosing the spiritual elements and a somber version of Billie Holiday’s revered “Strange Fruit”.