Fender Marcus Miller Bass Guitar

Fender Marcus Miller Bass Guitar

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Marcus Miller is a multiple Grammy Award-winning jazz musician, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

Miller is best known as a bassist, working with trumpeter Miles Davis, singer Luther Vandross, and saxophonist David Sanborn as well as maintaining a prolific solo career. Miller is classically trained as a clarinetist and also plays keyboards, saxophone and guitar.

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As a child, Miller was around music a lot and always fooling around on the piano: His father played piano and organ (mainly in church). His father's family also includes cousin Wynton Kelly, a very influential jazz pianist who played with Miles Davis in the late fifties. At the age of eight Miller began playing the recorder, and the clarinet at age ten at the public schools he attended. In middle school, he learned to play the saxophone as well. Miller went to the High School of Music and Art (now the Laguardia School of Performing Arts), where he majored in the clarinet. As a teenager, Miller bought sheet music to popular songs, longing to play them. His father would teach him how to read the guitar chord symbols and make up his own accompaniment. At the same time, Miller was playing bass in some funk bands in his neighborhood, learning about funk and grooves, and relating to people with music.

He subsequently went to Queens College, NY, majoring in music education, and business education and continued on clarinet there. Miller also participated in a jazz ensemble there, under the direction of Bud Johnson. During college Miller began to get a lot of work as a musician in New York on bass. Already very much in demand after four years, he decided to discontinue at Queens College and work full time.

Miller spent approximately 15 years performing as a sideman or session musician and observing how great bandleaders operated. During that time he also did a lot of arranging and producing. During the late seventies he was a member of the Saturday Night Live band from 1978 through 1979. He played on over 500 recordings, including those by Luther Vandross, Grover Washington Jr., Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, McCoy Tyner, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol. He won the "Most Valuable Player" award, (awarded by NARAS to recognize studio musicians) three years in a row and was subsequently awarded "player emeritus" status and retired from eligibility. In the nineties, Miller began to record his own records, he had to put a band together to take advantage of touring opportunities.

Miller's proficiency on his main instrument, the bass guitar, is generally well-regarded. Not only has Miller been involved in the continuing development of a technique known as "slapping", particularly his "thumb" technique, but his fretless bass technique has also served as an inspiration to many, and has taken the fretless bass into musical situations and genres previously unexplored with the electric bass of any description. The influences of some of the previous generation of electric bass players, such as Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius, are audible in Miller's playing. Early in his career, Miller was accused of being simply imitative of Pastorius, but has since more fully integrated the latter's methodology into his own sound.

As a composer, Miller wrote "Tutu" for Miles Davis, a piece that defined Davis' career in the late 1980s, and was the title song of Davis' album, Tutu, upon which Miller wrote all the songs with only two exceptions. (One was co-written with Davis, however.) He also composed "Chicago Song" for David Sanborn and co-wrote "'Til My Baby Comes Home", "It's Over Now", "For You To Love", and "The Power of Love" for Luther Vandross. Miller also wrote "Da Butt", which was featured in Spike Lee's School Daze.