Marcus Miller: Bruce Lee
Marcus Miller (bass, keyboard, various effects)
Silver Rain (Koch Records KOC CD-5779)
Lalah Hathaway (vocal sample), Patches Stewart (trumpet), Bernard Wright (keyboards).
Composed by Marcus Miller.
Recorded: Santa Monica, CA, 2005
Rating: 83/100 (learn more)
Marcus Miller's Silver Rain is caught in a jazz no-man's-land. That's the place in between Smooth Jazz and fusion. There is no way someone who likes the former is going to enjoy the latter and vice versa. So, although the multitalented Miller displays exceptional ability on every cut on this album, I find myself gagging on the smooth stuff and digging the fusion stuff. But because the tunes seem to alternate between the two worlds, I can't make my way through the whole album. I am sure the rest likewise vacillates. Two distinct albums would have been a better artistic and commercial choice, in my humble opinion.
Lucky for me that "Bruce Lee" is the CD's second cut. Miller says the title is a tribute to the martial arts superstar's ability to improvise. Miller's bass is way up in the mix on this funk-jazz piece. The sound is a bit dry, but the fun and engaging riff at the center of the tune is not. Strangely, at first I mistook it for the theme of the Boston Legal TV show. But some guy named Danny Lux wrote that. Miller's string-slapping and overdubbed synth parts on top of the band's funk groove will have you moving in your seat. Miller's solo is a robust statement. That is one hard-biting sound he manages to get. A bed of electronic ambience is laid out for Albright's solo. The opening
Boston Legal riff returns to funk it out to the end.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky