|AMG Review (3 1/2):
It is obvious from the music of his group that Marcus Miller badly misses Miles Davis. The funky grooves he uses on this CD sound like a continuation of Davis's later band, Michael "Patches" Stewart contributes muted trumpet in Davis's style, altoist Kenny Garrett is among Miller's sidemen and Miles Davis himself (along with the voices of several other notables in very brief moments) pops up twice on Miller's release. Marcus Miller's electric bass is a major force throughout the music. Samples are used intelligently, a tribute is paid to the late guitarist Eric Gale (Hiram Bullock starts off his solo sounding uncannily like Gale), "Strange Fruit" (a feature for Miller's bass clarinet) gets a revamping and all of the music is both danceable and full of development. A few songs (especially later in the program) ramble on a bit and one wishes that Marcus Miller would drop the funk now and then for variety's sake, but in general his set holds one's interest.
_Guest Artists: Me'Shell NdegeOcello; Lalah Hathaway; Hiram Bullock; Joshua Redman; Roberta Flack; Kenny Garrett; Joe Sample
_Additional Notes: Personnel: Marcus Miller (African flute, bass clarinet, Wurlitzer piano, keyboards, organ, synthesizer, guitar, 4-, 5- & 6-string fretted & fretless basses, programming, samples); Me'Shell NdegeOcello (vocals, synthesizer); Lalah Hathaway (vocals); Joe Sample (rap vocals); Q-Tip, Bill Withers, Roberta Flack (spoken vocals); Kenny Garrett (alto saxophone); Joshua Redman (tenor saxophone); Michael "Patches" Stewart (trumpet); Bernard Wright (marimba, electric piano, Clavinet, organ, synthesizer, synthesizer bass); Hiram Bullock, Dean Brown (guitar); Poogie Bell, Lenny White (drums); David "The Cat" Ward, Jason Miles (programming); Juice And Juju. Recorded at Right Track Recording, New York, New York; Camel Island and The Complex Studios, Los Angeles, California. Includes liner notes by Marcus Miller. All songs written or co-written by Marcus Miller except "Come Together" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney), "Visions" (Stevie Wonder), "Strange Fruit (Intro)" and "Strange Fruit" (Lewis Allan). Samples include "Yes We Can Can" (as performed by The Pointer Sisters). TALES contains recordings of the voices of Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Joe Zawinul, Miles Davis, Lester Bowie and Eric Gale; as well as samples of Bill Cosby's "The Bill Cosby Intro" and Bashiri Johnson's percussion.
_TALES was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance. The title track was nominated for a Grammy for Best Instr