Marcus Miller

Estival Jazz Lugano 2008

We have another competition today, courtesy of Revolver Records. Five DVDs of the Estival Jazz concert in Lugano in 2008 featuring Marcus Miller are the prizes.

Miller, winner of the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2001, was born in Brooklyn in 1959 and raised in Jamaica, New York.

He displayed an early affinity for all types of music. By the age of 13 he was proficient on the clarinet, piano and bass guitar and had begun composing music.

The bass guitar, however, was his love and by the age of 15, he was working regularly in New York City with various bands. In 1981, he joined his boyhood idol Miles Davis and spent two years on the road with the fabled jazzman.

“He didn’t settle for anything mediocre,” Miller recalls. “And this helped me develop my style. I learnt from him that you have to be honest about who you are and what you do. If you follow that, you won’t have problems.”

For more than 20 years, Miller has also enjoyed a musical relationship with R&B legend Luther Vandross. Over the years, Miller has contributed countless hits to the Vandross repertoire as a producer and writer. In 1986, he collaborated again with Miles Davis, producing the landmark Tutu album, the first of three Davis albums he would produce.

He has also produced for Al Jarreau, the Crusaders, Wayne Shorter, Take 6, Chaka Khan, and Kenny Garrett, among others.

The DVD has nine tracks and shows Miller at his “slapping” best. His technique on the fretless bass is intriguing but, for me, his bass clarinet performance of When I Fall in Love is the show-stopper.

I will let him have the last word: “I like to keep things balanced, combining R&B, jazz, funk and movie stuff to help reflect what’s happening in our world. I just try to keep challenging myself to continue to grow and get better.”

If you are into funky jazz and interested in watching a master of the fretless electric bass, this DVD is for you.

I have received many requests to join Facebook. Sorry, folks, no go.

• Win! Win! Win!

To stand a chance of winning one of five DVDs of the Estival Jazz concert in Lugano in 2008 featuring Marcus Miller, simply answer the following easy question: What two instruments does Marcus Miller play on the DVD reviewed?

E-mail one entry only to: [email protected] and include your name, postal address and telephone numbers. The competition closes at noon on Saturday.