Had Marcus Miller chosen a more fusion-centric path, it's quite possible that he would have become as iconic among fusion heads as Jaco Pastorius or Miroslav Vitous. Miller certainly knows his way around his electric bass, and he probably would have been a great addition to Return to Forever if Stanley Clarke had been unavailable for their 2008 reunion tour and Chick Corea had offered him the gig. But that is speculation, of course. What we can say with certainty is that being hell-bent for fusion is not the path chosen by the highly eclectic, broad-minded Miller, who is as well known for his work with Luther Vandross and for co-writing E.U.'s 1988 funk/go-go hit "Da Butt" as he is for the composing, producing, and playing he did on Miles Davis' Tutu and Amandla albums in the ‘80s.
One of a number of Art Blakey albums titled after "Night In Tunisia" – and most likely the best! The tune is a perfect fit for the Blakey Jazz Messengers format – long, rhythmic, really stretching out, yet allowing plenty of space for the horn players to solo. Players include Bobby Timmons on piano, Lee Morgan on trumpet, and Wayne Shorter on tenor – a killer lineup that's in really classic form here – driven on nicely by Blakey's drums and bass work by Jymie Merritt. Titles include "Night In Tunisia", with Blakey thundering through impeccably – plus the tracks "Yama", "Kozo's Waltz", and a version of Timmons' great "So Tired".
This program offers three lively, colorful, and captivating orchestral works by two United States composers, born almost a century apart. These pieces exhibit the fruitful exchange and flow of musical material between North and South America that has long played a role in popular music, apparent not only in commercial song and dance music using Latin American melodies and rhythms but also in early jazz and blues where tango rhythms are so often heard, as in W. C. Handy's St. Louis Blues. And both Gottschalk in the 1850s, close to the beginning of a creative American musical tradition, and Gould in the 1950s, when such a tradition had flowered considerably, show a combination of seriousness of approach with a popular touch.