Marcus Miller Biography

107k
Listen to Marcus Miller
and similar artists
Play Now

Home > Music > M > Miller, Marcus > Biography


Birth Name: William Henry Marcus Miller Jr.
Born: 1959/06/14
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Years Active: 1975–present
Genres: Jazz, Jazz Fusion, R&B, Rock, Funk


Marcus Miller (born William Henry Marcus Miller Jr., June 14, 1959, Brooklyn, New York) is an American jazz composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. Miller is best known as a bassist, working with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Herbie Hancock, singer Luther Vandross, and saxophonist David Sanborn, as well as maintaining a prolific solo career. Miller is classically trained as a clarinetist and also plays keyboards, saxophone and guitar.

By age 13, Miller was proficient on clarinet, piano and bass guitar, and already writing songs. Two years later he was working regularly in New York City, eventually playing bass and writing music for jazz flautist Bobbi Humphrey and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith.

Miller soon became a first call session musician, gracing well over 500 albums, a short list of which includes Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Mariah Carey, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Grover Washington Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J, Me'Shell NdegéOcello and Flavio Sala.

Miller spent approximately 15 years performing as a sideman or session musician, observing how band leaders operated. During that time he also did a lot of arranging and producing. Miller's proficiency on his main instrument, the bass guitar, is generally well-regarded. Not only has Miller been involved in the continuing development of the technique known as “slapping,” particularly his “thumb” technique, but his fretless bass technique has also served as an inspiration to many, and he has taken the fretless bass into musical contexts and genres previously unexplored. He was a member of the “Saturday Night Live” band from 1978 to1979. He

Miller has an extensive discography, and tours frequently and widely in Europe and Japan. Between 1988 and 1990 he appeared in the first season and again toward the end as both the musical director and also as the house band bass player in the Sunday Night Band during the two seasons of the acclaimed music performance program “Sunday Night” on NBC late-night television.

As a composer, Miller wrote “Tutu” for Miles Davis, a piece that defined Davis's career in the late 1980s, and was the title track of Davis's album “Tutu,” upon which Miller wrote all the songs with only two exceptions, and one of those was co-written with Davis. He also composed “Chicago Song” for David Sanborn and co-wrote “'Til My Baby Comes Home,” “It's Over Now,” “For You to Love” and “Power of Love” for Luther Vandross.

Miller has won numerous Grammy Awards as a producer for Davis, Vandross, Sanborn, Bob James, Chaka Khan and Wayne Shorter. He won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1992, for Luther Vandross' “Power of Love” and in 2001 he won for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for his fourth solo instrumental album, “M2.”

Miller currently has his own band. In 1997 he played bass and bass clarinet in a band called Legends, featuring Eric Clapton (guitars and vocals), Joe Sample (piano), David Sanborn (alto sax) and Steve Gadd (drums). In addition to his recording and performance career, Miller has established a parallel career as a film score composer. He has written numerous scores for films featuring Eddie Murphy, L.L. Cool J, Chris Rock, Matthew Perry, Samuel L. Jackson and others. He composed the musical score for the Chris Rock-created sit-com, “Everybody Hates Chris,” now in syndication on Nick-At Nite.





Browse More Music:
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z