Born: June 14, 1959
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, NY
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Career and Life
William Henry Marcus Miller Jr. is an American film composer, jazz composer, record producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a bass guitarist. He has worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Herbie Hancock, singer Luther Vandross, and saxophonist David Sanborn, among others.
Miller spent approximately 15 years performing as a session musician. During that time he also arranged and produced frequently. He was a member of the Saturday Night Live band 1979-1981. He co-wrote Aretha Franklin's "Jump To It" along with Luther Vandross. He has played bass on over 500 recordings, appearing on over 500 albums by such artists as Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Herbie Hancock, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, The Crusaders, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joe Walsh, Jean-Michel Jarre, Grover Washington Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Bernard Wright, Kazumi Watanabe, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J and Flavio Sala.. He won the "Most Valuable Player" award (given by NARAS to recognize studio musicians) three years in a row and was subsequently awarded "player emeritus" status and retired from eligibility. In the nineties, Miller began to write his own music and make his own records, putting a band together and touring regularly.
Between 1988 and 1990 he appeared regularly both as a musical director and also as the house band bass player in the Sunday Night Band during two seasons of Sunday Night on NBC late-night television, hosted by David Sanborn.
As a composer, Miller co-wrote and produced several songs on the Miles Davis album Tutu, including its title track. 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 also wrote "Da Butt", which was featured in Spike Lee's School Daze. In addition, he composed and provided spoken vocals on "Burn it Up", which was featured on Najee's 1992 album Just An Illusion.
In 1997 he played bass guitar 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). It was an 11-date tour of major jazz festivals in Europe. In 2008 Miller formed SMV with Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten for a world tour lasting 18 months. In summer 2011, Miller toured along with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter in a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of Miles Davis passing.
Miller also hosts a jazz history and influences show called Miller Time with Marcus Miller on the Real Jazz channel of Sirius XM Holdings satellite radio system. In addition to his recording and performance career, Miller has established a parallel career as a film score composer (see listing below), having written numerous scores for films.
Miller was nominated for numerous Grammy Awards as a producer for Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chaka Khan and Wayne Shorter and won two Grammys. 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 seventh solo instrumental album, M².
In 2012 Miller was appointed an UNESCO Artist for Peace supporting and promoting the UNESCO Slave Route Project. His 2015 album, Afrodeezia, earned a Grammy Award nomination in 2016 for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.