Marcus Miller – Tutu Revisited (2011)

Released in December 1986, 25 years ago, “Tutu” divided the world of jazz: some loving it, others labeled as “not jazz” and quite hating it. As Marcus Miller said in a recent interview: “I bought a Downbeat magazine when I was 15 years old and they were arguing about that. The last time I looked at Downbeat, they were still arguing the same stuff.” Thinking of music in genres, I believe, it’s a quite stupid approach. And there’s not even “good” or “bad” music, eventually there’s music we like or we don’t. It’s about the vibe I guess. And about our perception and not at least it’s about the moment and the mood, not to mention the contradictious matter of taste. I won’t definitively play Morbid Angel or Slayer when I’m in mood for sex. I admit, I discovered Miles Davis through “Tutu” and for years I did paint exclusively on Miles Davis and Jan Garbarek’s music. And still, I prefer to paint on jazz.
Marcus Miller wrote and produced “Tutu” at the age of 27 while by age of 13, Marcus was already proficient on clarinet, piano and bass guitar, and already writing his own songs. Miller soon became a top call session musician, gracing well over 500 albums, a short list of which includes Herbie Hancock, Mariah Carey, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Grover Washington Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, Bryan Ferry, David Sanborn, Billy Idol, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J and Me’shell NdegOcello and Flavio Sala.

This two-CD (plus DVD) release given a second life to “Tutu”. The band made of Marcus Miller on bass and bass clarinet, Christian Scott on trumpet, Alex Han on saxophone, Louis Cato on drums and Frederico Pena on keyboards, bring back the magic of Davis mid-80s powerful vibe and reveals another dimension of these songs. Christian Scott is not a replacement for Davis, but a fabulous, young jazz trumpeter, composer and producer from New Orleans. Alex Han is one of the most exciting young jazz saxophonists of his generation. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Louis Cato from age of 2 (!) played drums for church services in Ohio and Washington and at the age of 8, Louis was teaching himself to play bass on acoustic guitar and he picked up brass instruments in middle school. To date he has performed/shared the stage with: Brian McKnight, Roy Hargrove, Stevie Wonder, Marcus Miller, Wynton Marsalis, Wyclef Jean, Sean Jones, Solange Knowles, Jason Palmer, Talib Kweli and Idle Warship, Norah Jones, Donald Harrison, Christian Scott, JoJo, Ahmir Thompson, Bobby Brown, Derek Trucks, Marcus Gilmore, Sam Kininger and Richard Smallwood and runs his original projects, 6Figures and Chapter2. Federico Pena was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, and about age 2 he began playing various percussion instruments. After moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Federico took up the drums at age 4. Even though percussion came naturally for him, he soon discovered the piano at his grandmother’s house–herself a very accomplished pianist and organist. It wasn’t long before he took piano lessons and began writing his first compositions; and after approximately 3 years of lessons and still showing a real interest, Federico switched teachers and was accepted by world renowned Argentine concert pianist Antonio de Raco. Federico’s professional career began at age 15 while still in Argentina where he would take up session work while hanging out at a well know downtown recording studio. In doing so, he was exposed to various styles and levels of producers which gave him invaluable experience. At the age of 17, once in the US and after attending the Berklee College of Music for 1 year the young keyboardist returned to Washington and began playing with some of the area’s top Go-Go bands. Federico has worked with Maxwell, Angela Boffill, Rare Essence, Pieces of a Dream, Digable Planets, Alana Davis, George Howard, Roy Hargrove, Chaka Khan, Cassandra Wilson, Marcus Miller and SMV (Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller & Victor Wooten).
This is just great, actually no words for it.
“Tutu Revisited” consist of songs wrote all but two by Marcus Miller: George Duke’s “Backyard Ritual” and Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way”.

Track list:

01 – Tomaas
02 – Backyard Ritual
03 – Splatch
04 – Portia
05 – Jean-Pierre
06 – Aida
07 – In A Sentimental Mood

01 – Hannibal
02 – Don’t Lose Your Mind
03 – Tutu
04 – Full Nelson/Perfect Way
05 – Human Nature/So What

Marcus said “that one of the problems with making contemporary music is that you never know how it will be judged in the future”. Well, I think we judging things by labels and not by our own soul. “Tutu” is still fresh and new even after 25 years. I’m still listening Davis – not only “Tutu”, obviously – and musicians as Marcus Miller still have resources to bring to the surface brand new aspects of the music even when their play “the same old songs”.

Marcus Miller – Official Site

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