Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 10 September 2012 15:26

Concert review and set list: Marcus Miller takes Jazz at the Bistro to new musical places, Sunday, September 9

Marcus Miller at Jazz at the Bistro Marcus Miller at Jazz at the Bistro Wil Wander
Written by Wil Wander
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The line to enter Jazz at the Bistro formed quickly after 9 p.m. as patrons gathered anxiously along Washington Avenue for the sold-out opening night of Jazz St. Louis' 17th season.

Stories of awe and laughter helped pass the time as patrons slowly filed into their seats for what was sure to be one of the most memorable nights in their collective lives. Marcus Miller, bassist and musician extraordinaire, strayed from his normal diet of jazz fest headlines and packed auditoriums to share an intimate set with St. Louis' most devout jazz fanatics -- 150 seats at a time.

The stage was unusually crowded, decked with extra speakers to properly serve the intensity of Miller's dynamic style in addition to the instruments for a six-man band. Frederico Gonzalez Peña started the evening with an electronic ambient tone off his Korg keyboard, which rested nicely on the Bistro's in-house baby grand. He was soon joined by Louis Cato on the drums supplying a peppy break rhythm to accompany Miller's ascent to the stage. The legend known to many as "M2" picked up his trademark Fender four-string, played a signature introductory slide-style note, and then the grooves began.

The lineup included Peña covering the full spectrum of organ and synthesizer in addition to the keyboard and piano, and Cato on a fairly standard drum kit. They were joined by Adam Agati playing guitar and decked in Texas souvenirs picked up during the tour's last stop in Austin, Lee Hogans on trumpet and Alex Han on alto and soprano saxophone. Miller didn't come packed lightly either, as the back of the stage displayed a four-string fretless and a five-string Fender (graced with his iconic pick guard), a bass clarinet and a professional array of pedals.

Earlier this year, Miller released his ninth solo studio album, "Renaissance," to compliment six live albums, 22 film scores, and innumerable albums with other musicians including Miles Davis, David Sanborn, and Luther Vandross. The band is touring to promote the album, which is composed of eight originals and five masterful covers, and its set was arranged entirely of songs from the new album.

Miller and company opened with "Mr. Clean," a mellow funk groove. After the leader laid down the bass line, he defied expectations of a grand display and immediately withdrew to support Hogans on the first solo. The solo was brief, but lively with peppy staccato scales. He soon gave way to Han on the alto sax. Han started with a blank, zombie-like stare to the back of the room and a selection of simple rhythmic licks, but gradually increased the level of skill and energy as the solo developed into a wild display of prowess. This was not the first time Han would impress the audience and lead his bandmates to step it up.

M2 asserted his bass magnificence in the second song of the evening, "Detroit," which is the opening track from the album. He would venture from main sequence with improvised breaks and signature riffs and was featured in a prolonged solo, with horns matching his sequences at key points. The solo developed slowly, but by the end, Miller was changing and blending styles with each passing bar, demonstrating vicious speeds, then sliding and bending notes and minds alike with the utmost precision. The solo finished with a display of chords and into a slap-funk conclusion.

Peña and Agati got their opportunities to shine in the appropriately titled "Jekyll & Hyde," a song Miller described as having a personality disorder. It balanced soft, soulful segments with louder, more vigorous segments with a rock and roll flavor. While the soft parts were sweet and professional, the band jammed hardest during the Mr. Hyde segments, including a shredding guitar solo from Agati, and divinely chaotic solo on the Moog.

The set also included a more solemn song about the slave trade called "Gorée (Go-ray)," and featured Miller on the bass clarinet, but the band played straight into "Slippin' Into Darkness," a fun cover of the classic War song that included a brief interpolation of Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up." M2 slew the crowd with his final solo that left many audience members' faces drenched in joyous tears, and was happy to meet the fans after the show.

Set list:

Mr. Clean
Detroit
Redemption
Jekyll & Hyde
Gorée (Go-ray) -> Slippin' Into Darkness

All photos by Wil Wander.

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Lida Una

Sun October 5

Brian Owens

Mon September 29
Brian Owens is an American soul singer and songwriter from St. Louis. His new album Preach combines grooves, with soul touching lyrics.. Preach is a well produced album that speaks to the modern times,…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-crowd.jpg

KDHX Recommends

October
Saturday
25

KDHX Reggae Soundclash

St. Louis area DJs and sound systems meet at the Stage at KDHX for a reggae soundclash. The event pits Dub Prophecy vs. Massive Hi Fi in a “friendly clash” – alternating sets of the toughest sounds and the best of...


November
Thursday
06

Discovery Series: All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in...

KDHX presents "All The News That's Fit To Sing: The State of Protest Music in 1968" as part of the Discovery Series. Series passports can be bought online. This event looks at the music and activism of 1968, through...


November
Friday
07

Art Attack 2014

Start your chainsaws, St. Louis. On November 7, KDHX presents Art Attack 6: a chaotic art auction that supports KDHX and puts the fate of 32 local artists in your hands. Join us for a night of fine art, drinks and destruction....


Online Users

2 users and 11668 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook