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Jazz Album of the Week: Laid Black With Marcus Miller

Blue Note Records
Marcus Miller - Laid Black

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

Maureen began her radio career at WRTI in 1999 while studying broadcasting at Temple University. Determined to make it in the entertainment industry, she took advantage of all the creative opportunities presented to her at WRTI - she hosted the overnight jazz broadcasts through her entire college career, she was an arts and culture reporter, and she soaked up the jazz biz from her many WRTI mentors.