Jazz Album of the Week: Laid Black With Marcus Miller

Sep 10, 2018

Bassist, composer and multi-instrumentalist  Marcus Miller has been a celebrated name in the music industry for over thirty years. His new release, Laid Black, proves his star power with the inclusion of some guest artists with illustrious careers of their own. Selah Sue, Trombone Shorty, Jonathan Butler, Kirk Whalum and Take 6 all add to relaxed creativity of this album.

The only non-original composition of this album is an arrangement of “Que Sera Sera,” which features Belgian musician and songwriter Selah Sue, whose brand of soul blends in perfectly with the gospel-like background vocals. Trombone Shorty joins Marcus on “7-T’s” which fuses the street sounds of New Orleans with the New York funk that always comes from a Miller original.

Jonathan Butler’s acoustic guitar and chant-like vocal stylings make “Sublimity ‘Bunny’s Dream’ ” the fantasy sequence that the title intends. Brett William’s piano playing truly elevates the listener – it makes you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. Another lofty piece is “Preacher’s Kid,” which features guest appearances by the vocal group Take 6 and tenor sax man Kirk Whalum. Together with the band, these guys take us on a reflection inducing journey that is good for the soul.

The guests on Laid Black add to the record, but Marcus is still the star. His musical sensibility is apparent in these titles. His ability as a multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, synths, Wurlitzer electric piano, organ, clavit, rhythm guitar, saxophone, amongst others) makes his unique compositions come to life, and also makes them nearly impossible to duplicate