Groovy Marcus Miller Photos and Blow by Blow Account from BP Presents Show
(Photo: Miller works the mic while Mino Cinelu listens)
“What’s the score?” asked Marcus Miller as he took the Yoshi’s stage in Oakland Sunday night, fully aware that many had not turned off their cell phones and were keeping close track of their beloved Golden State Warriors. With LeBron James and the NBA Finals in town, Oakland was the place to be. Miller made the most of the opportunity playing five sold out shows over the course of the weekend.
Toting his iconic Fender Jazz Bass, he kicked off Sunday’s show with “Hylife,” which also kicks off his latest CD, Afrodeezia. It’s a concept album that follows the musical flow created by slaves as they were traded from Africa to the Americas.
(Photo: Overhand tapping)
“We wound up in America’s big cities including Detroit, which led to Motown music,” explained Miller. “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” has got to be the baddest Motown bass line—it’s got drama,” said Miller as he launched into a stellar rendition playing the melody on bass. He demonstrated impossible dexterity during his slap solo, and his interplay with expressive percussionist Mino Cinelu was wildly entertaining.
Miller’s next move was getting into the groove of War’s “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” and then he morphed in and out of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up.”
(Photo: Miller feels the moment)
Miller kept asking for updates on the Warriors’ score. When he eventually found out the game was in overtime, he kicked the band up a notch.
“We better help you out,” he said. “Let me detune my bass and get some energy going. Fellas, play faster than usual,” commanded miller as he launched into an Eastern flavored tune he’d written in Istanbul that brought the house down. He closed with a nasty take on “Tutu,” the title track from the album Miller made with Miles Davis.
(Photo: Marcus makes a point, and Mino backs him up)
“Hey, we did our part,” joked Miller as the applause died down. The Warriors fell short, but Miller came up big with some of the most enthusiasm—onstage and off—we’ve seen at the legendary Yoshi’s jazz house in many moons.
Photos by Jimmy Leslie