The last time bassist/composer/band leader/multi-instrumentalist Marcus Miller was in town, he performed a stellar, well-received set before a packed house at the Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino, to promote his then-new album, the funk/jazz fusion burner “Renaissance.”
When Miller and his band - saxophonist Alex Han, trumpeter Lee Hogans, guitarist Adam Agati, pianist Brett Williams and drummer Louis Cato - return to the Bear’s Den on Saturday at 8 p.m., they’ll be celebrating “Afrodeezia,” a new collection due for release on Blue Note Records next Tuesday.
From the beginning, Miller has been ambitious man. Cutting his teeth with Miles Davis, he worked his way into the musical director seat, and soon became Miles’ confidante, a man he’d turn to for some of the most inspired music of his later career, including the sounds that comprised the brilliant “Tutu” and “Siesta” albums. For “Afrodeezia,” that ambitious streak is in full evidence; the album was recorded in locations around the world as an outgrowth of Miller’s role as a UNESCO Artist for Peace. Working with musicians from places like Morocco, Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, Los Angeles and elsewhere, Miller sought to bridge perceived cultural and political divides in service of a far-reaching sound. He brought in a list of guest contributors to add to the basic tracks cut by his touring band, and it’s a roster that includes the likes of Public Enemy’s Chuck D, new jazz wunderkind Robert Glasper, legendary singer Lalah Hathaway, trumpeters Etienne Charles and Ambrose Akinmusire, and Snarky Puppy’s Cory Henry, among others.
Remaining tickets for Miller and Band’s Bear’s den show are priced $35 (box office, Ticketmaster). Additional information on Miller can be found through MarcusMiller.com.