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Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller’s combination of soulful groove and astounding technical ability has made him one of the jazz/R&B world’s preeminent virtuoso bassists, to say nothing of his long and impressive list of credits as a Grammy®-winning songwriter and producer.


Miller's powerfully musical bass playing is familiar to many through his seminal work with Miles Davis, David Sanborn and Luther Vandross.

Born in 1959 into a musical family—his father was a church organist and choir director and his cousin is legendary jazz pianist Wynton Kelly—Miller was proficient on clarinet and piano by age 13. He studied clarinet at New York's High School of Music and Art (now the Laguardia School of Performing Arts) and at Queens College. Miller took up bass on his own initiative when he joined a neighborhood dance band, because it was the instrument "that seemed most interesting." He was not formally trained as a bassist, and has remarked that he simply started by transferring his knowledge of clarinet to bass.

During college he became increasingly busy in New York clubs and studies, quickly building a reputation as one of the city's most in-demand bassist/composers. To date, he has recorded with artists including Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Grover Washington Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Chaka Khan, Meshell Ndegeocello, LL Cool J and many others. Miller contributed to several Vandross albums as musician, composer and producer, winning an R&B song of the year Grammy® in 1991 for "The Power of Love." Miller also became Mile Davis's main collaborator in Davis's later years, composing and producing the 1986 album Tutu.

The first of Miller's several solo albums, Suddenly, was released in 1983; His album M2, released on his own 3 Deuces Records label, won a 2001 Grammy® for best contemporary jazz album. Silver Rain appeared in 2005.

Fender introduced its Marcus Miller Jazz Bass® guitar in 1998; a five-string version appeared in 2003.