Bassist Marcus Miller claims the sweetest spot in WEMU's "Sweet 16".

Sep 27, 2012

Perhaps it was because the lead track on Marcus Miller's new CD "Renaissance" was called "Detroit" that the disc resonated so soundly with WEMU listeners and staff.  Whatever the reason, it has become a fast favorite of listeners and staff alike. 

While remaining true to his prowess as an electric bassist, Miller branched out to many different styles on "Renaissance".   In his hands, the bass is more than a rhythm section instrument;  it becomes a singing, breathing, living lead voice.  His instrumental voice is highly complimentary to the voices of Gretchen Parlato, Ruben Blades, Dr. John who participate as special guests.   Parlato and Blades are the voices on "Septembro: Brazilian Wedding Song".  Their wordless vocalese spins a sensual web of romance while Miller's bass provides the pulse of life.  There is another sort of pulse when the earthy Dr. John raps and moans on "Tightrope" about the trials of modern life. 

For many fans, it's Miller's fabulous funk grooves and powerful thumb thump that are most compelling.   Miller makes you feel the funk with the grooves on "Detroit', "Slippin' In To Darkness", "Mr. Clean" and "Redemption".  The disc ends with a hypnotic solo bass rendition of Michael Jackson's hit "I'll Be There".  We hope that with the success of "Renaissance", bassist Marcus Miller will be there to make music for years to come.

We would also like to point out that the "Sweet 16" for this particular week includes five CDs with local connections:  Johnnie Bassett, Rampage Swing, Tumbao Bravo and Nuevo Jazz Detroit are artists and groups based around Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Detroit.  "What's It Gonna Take" is by former Detroiter, blues guitarist Doug Deming who returns to his home town regularly for shows.   To WEMU this indicates that good music is alive and well in Southeastern Michigan.  We at WEMU feel honored to be a conduit for outstanding regional music.

WEMU “SWEET SIXTEEN” AIRPLAY September 17 to September 23, 2012:  
LINDA YOHN, MUSIC DIRECTOR

1. MARCUS MILLER   “Renaissance”   (Concord Jazz)
2. CHRISTIAN SCOTT   “Christian Atunde Adjauh”   (Concord Jazz)
3. DEANNA BOGART   “Pianoland”   (Blind Pig Records)
4. DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND  "Twenty Dozen"  (Savoy Jazz)
5. KURT ELLING   “1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project”  (Concord Jazz)
6. LIONEL LOUEKE   “Heritage”   (Blue Note)
7. RANDY CRAWFORD & JOE SAMPLE  “Live”  (PRA Records)
8. RICK HOLMSTROM   “Cruel Sunrise”  (M.C. Records)
9. ANAT COHEN   “Claroscuro”   (Anzic Records)
10. CASSANDRA WILSON   “Another Country”   (eOne Music)
11. JOHNNIE BASSETT  “I Can Make That Happen”   (Sly Dog Records)
12. RAMPAGE SWING "Michigan Avenue Stomp" (www.rampageswing.com)
13. SHEMEKIA COPELAND “33 1/3” (Telarc)
14. TUMBAO BRAVO   “Casa Versailles”   (PKO Records)
15. DOUG DEMING & THE JEWEL TONES  "What's It Gonna Take" (Vizztone)
16. NUEVO JAZZ DETROIT “Prima” (www.nuevojazzdetroit.com)
 
~COMPILED BY LINDA YOHN AND PATRICK HOLUBIK