HERBIE HANCOCK, WAYNE SHORTER and MARCUS MILLER
Unite to Salute Legendary Trumpeter in "TRIBUTE TO MILES"
On the European Jazz Festival Circuit 2011
Produced by Miller, The Concerts Will Pay Homage
To Each Decade of Davis' Ever-Evolving Soundscape
Then Pave Paths For Further "Directions in Music"
Twenty years after his death, American musical genius Miles Davis is as omnipresent as ever. From museum-worthy reissues of his classic recordings such as Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew to sprawling traveling exhibits of his artifacts and memorabilia to concert homages in his name by the world's greatest musicians, Miles Davis has evolved into a brand that stands for music at its boldest, most forward thinking and timeless.
Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller, three chameleonic and masterful
legends whose life legacies are indelibly intertwined with Davis', are uniting for a unique European tour called "Tribute to Miles" that will at once celebrate the music of Davis and, more importantly, his philosophy of constant evolution.
Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller's "Tribute to Miles" will play the internationally renowned European festivals Umbria, North Sea, Jazz a Vienne, Monteux, Jazz a Juan, Vitoia-Gasteiz and Jazz des Cinq in Marseilles, as well as a coveted performance at Paris' preeminent music hall, L'Olympia..
Marcus Miller, producer of the tribute, first worked with Davis as an electric bassist on his 1981 comeback album for Columbia Records, The Man With The Horn. However, it was in 1986 that Marcus was promoted into the hallowed position of primary collaborator with Davis for his first album at Warner Bros. Records, Tutu. The title track became not only Davis' last classic recording, but also a universally recognized jazz standard. Miller took a fond look back at the music of Tutu in 2010 by embarking upon his "Tutu Revisited" tour with a handpicked group of young musicians, some dates of which featured trumpeter Sean Jones, who will now also be joining Miller & Co. for "Tribute to Miles."
"After wrapping 'Tutu Revisited' and seeing firsthand how passionately received Miles' music remains with the public, I realized how easy it would be for me to just stay under the Miles Davis umbrella forever...which I clearly cannot do. I began to think, 'If I could do one more thing, what would that be?' Out of utmost admiration, I decided to approach Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. It's tricky paying homage to Miles... Wayne and Herbie are the perfect people to get into the spirit of Miles then move forward using the information that we got from him to challenge ourselves and make new statements."
“This tribute to Miles is a way of celebrating the combined efforts of all pioneers historically to present day," Shorter elucidates, "and to project a telescopic probe to portals of the future.”
After making his debut with trumpeter Donald Byrd and soon after signing to Blue Note Records, pianist/composer Herbie Hancock joined trumpeter Miles Davis in 1963 where he became part of one of the most celebrated quintets in all of jazz music along with drummer Tony Williams, bassist Ron Carter and, shortly after, saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Shorter joined Miles' band after making a major impression in drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers quintet. During his tenure with Davis in the `60s, Shorter contributed several classic compositions to Davis' catalog and, indeed, the canon of jazz, including "Footprints," "Pinocchio," "Nefertiti" and "Fall" (recently utilized with poignancy in the Halle Berry film "Frankie & Alice"). In the `70s, Hancock and Shorter became leaders in their own right in the realm of electrified jazz-rock fusion: Hancock with his band The Headhunters and Shorter as co-founder of Weather Report (with another Davis alumnus keyboardist Joe Zawinul). While never remaining tethered to the past, they also had no issue with looking back at the great music they made with Davis, revisiting it under the name V.S.O.P. in the `70s and the Grammy-winning Miles Davis Tribute Band.in the `90s.
The ever in-demand Marcus Miller first worked with Wayne Shorter as producer of his 1995 Verve Records CD High Life. A decade later, he worked with Herbie Hancock in the all-star septet Headhunters `05. Miller has also been a part of Hancock's Grammy-winning all-star recordings Possibilities and The Imagine Project, plus invited
Hancock to be a guest on the Marcus Miller-hosted North Sea Jazz Cruise. With Hancock and Shorter being close friends/associates for decades and Miller a coveted newer comrade, the chemistry between this triumvirate is potent for mind-blowing musical exploration of the highest order.
Sketching his vision of how the "Tribute to Miles" performances will play out, Miller muses, "We'll probably play something to represent each of Miles' musical eras - the bop and the cool of the `50s, the expansiveness of the `60s of which Herbie and Wayne played an integral part, the electric experiments of the `70s, and his final music of the`80s on which I worked closely with him. Then we'll spend the meat of the concert exploring Miles philosophy and seeing what else we can find. It would not be in the spirit of Miles to just do a retrospective."
Playfully pondering the origin from where some of that new music might come, Miller adds, "Wayne's always got stuff. I just have to go underneath his piano and grab the little pieces of music paper masterpieces he's forgotten about. There's probably a whole album's worth of music right there that Herbie, Wayne and I can finesse into something exciting and fresh."
"The next generation of artists can choose to pursue paths of the familiar," Shorter muses,"or take the road less raveled 'to do the mission.' Financial gain can come with the life of the entertainer...yet artistic endeavor on the road least traveled comes with adversity born of human frailties such as ignorance, arrogance and avarice. The mission of the pioneer is to know the value of their work. That value is equal to human value...and real value always meets with great resistance. Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk all experienced 'the great resistance.' Charlie Parker instinctively knew that there is a price to be paid when creating something original. Originality has been a financial burden in terms of marketing and audience conditioning. This was the case with Be Bop and Jazz, America's original art form. So here we are celebrating the courage of the pioneers as a testimony to the human spirit. The future is in the moment - the challenge of all improvisation!"
Sean Rickman son of guitarist Phil Upchurch who has worked with Steve Coleman, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dapp Theory, and his own band, Garaj Mahal will be playing drums.
Triumphantly united within "Tribute to Miles," Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller are certain to explore both the inner workings and the outer reaches of the timeless mystique that is Jazz's Black Prince of Darkness, Miles Dewey Davis III.