Emma-Jean Thackray & Marcus Miller @ Royal Albert Hall in London, UK
Review & photography by Guy Hurst
It’s been a very long time since world-renowned composer and jazz bassist, Marcus Miller has performed at a venue in London to more than 100 person capacity, and the anticipation of his return was so strong that it sold out the huge & legendary venue that is London’s Royal Festival Hall in the heart of the city. Aside from The Royal Albert Hall, you won’t find a venue so hidden and tucked away in plain sight overlooking the river Thames, packing big acoustics and audio quality for the instrumental talents of Marcus Miller and his band. All seats were filled, faces were glowing of excitement to witness one of the first European dates of Marcus Millers Laid Black tour promoting his recent album and his latest masterpieces.
Supporting Marcus for his London date is Emma-Jean Thackray and her band Walrus. The four-piece was an interesting spectacle as their soothing siren sounds of instrumental goodness filled up the entire room to admiring spectators. Emma, who has previously composed for the London Symphony Orchestra and other serious accolades tucked under her belt, will be an interesting one to keep tabs on within the jazz scene. A perfect opener from one of the UK’ brightest young minds, for one of the world’s most impressive instrumental jazz artists.
Marcus came on stage with his four-piece band to play one of his most popular and recognizable songs, 7-T’s. You have never heard a sound so clean with an impressive bass tone from the front, right to the back coming from his Fender signature jazz bass. He then went on to play Untamed and Sublimity, which are hot tracks from his latest album, Laid Black. Each song with such musical energy played to complete perfection. When it came to the sax solo in each song, it would be as if this happened spontaneously as Marcus would wave his arm over to call them in each time. The highlight of the evening would be Marcus performing Detroit. His introduction was so simple, “I’m going to play Detroit because, well, I like Detroit.” This song, to me, optimizes Marcus Miller’s style as a jazz bassist, where his instrument carries the song as would lyrics. The musical masterpiece which was heavily improvised compared to the record made for excellent listening and overall made for that ultimate feeling of “this gig has changed my life.”
Tickets for Marcus Millers other tour dates can be purchased over on his website.