After 2008’s acclaimed “SMV” (Heads Up), made in collaboration with fellow bassists Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller reemerges with a brilliant live recording that shows every side of his musicality, which ranges from jazz-fusion to gospel to neo-soul.
Backed by a symphony orchestra and a fantastic band band that includes Raul Midon (vocals), Roy Hargrove (trumpet) and newcomer Alex Han (alto saxophone), Miller sets the tone by opening with the instrumental “Blast,” a tune that starts with tablas and sitars and then moves on into more funky territory with the full orchestra in a fiery crescendo. Midon shines both on the acoustic funk “State of Mind” and “Your Amazing Grace,” the latter being a neo-soul rereading of the gospel classic where the singer reflects on his newfound spirituality in a time where faith seems so hard to find. Hargrove takes the lead on the beautifully melodic “I’m Glad There Is You,” the only tune where Miller sounds to be slightly more subdued, allowing the trumpeter and the orchestra to take center stage.
Among the surprises is a medley featuring “O Mio Bambino Caro” (made famous by Maria Callas) and a fun take on Jorge Ben’s Brazilian soul classic “Mas Que Nada” Also, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” with guest pianist Herbie Hancock, closes the disc with great style. “A Night in Monte Carlo” shows every facet of Miller’s talent and musical taste, and it is a great addition to the canon of the Miles Davis Band veteran (Ernest Barteldes)
“A Night in Monte Carlo”