Brooklyn-born Marcus Miller kicks off his latest album playing the sitar, lending “Blast” an Indian groove before adopting a hip-hop beat in the chorus. It’s an early indication of Miller’s diverse musical tastes: “Free” features the noted bass guitarist playing 14 different instruments.
Miller, 48, has played on and produced albums by Miles Davis, among other jazz titans, and delved into scoring films, such as this year’s “I Think I Love My Wife,” starring Chris Rock. His latest album utilizes these arranging skills as he adds beats, drum loops, and vocal samples to original compositions and standards, including “When I Fall in Love” and Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” At times, the sounds are soulful, as in the title track, which features vocals from rising English star Corinne Bailey Rae. Blues guitarist Keb’ Mo’ adds another dimension when he plays and sings on “Milky Way” (cowritten with Miller), while alto saxophonist David Sanborn breaks out of his smooth-jazz shell to give the album a rousing send-off on “What is Hip?”