Marcus Miller & Jonathan Butler
Two-time Grammy Award winner Marcus Miller is one of the most significant jazz/R&B/fusion/soul bass players of our time.
Bass Player magazine includes him on its list of the 10 most influential jazz players of this generation. His distinctive sound can be heard on countless recordings by Bill Withers, Luther Vandross (with whom he created 13 albums), Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin and many more.
Miller also toured with Miles Davis’s band in the early 1980s and collaborated with Davis on three acclaimed albums. As a composer, Miller has a long list of film and television credits, including Spike Lee’s “School Daze,” the Chris Rock classic “Good Hair,” the Oscar-nominated film “Marshall” and more.
Miller has been a recording artist and bandleader for more than 20 years, having released over a dozen albums of his own. He tours extensively worldwide with a band of gifted young musicians, and broadcasts two radio shows each week: “Jazz with Marcus Miller on Miller Time” in the U.S. on Sirius XM, and “Transatlantic Jazz With Marcus Miller” in the U.K.
Miller’s most recent album, “Laid Back” (2018), features special guest performances by Trombone Shorty, Kirk Whalum, Patches Stewart, Take 6, Jonathan Butler and guest vocalist Selah Sue.
Jonathan Butler is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who leads a life few can imagine.
Born in South Africa under the shadow of apartheid and raised in poverty, Butler was the first non-white artist to be played on South African radio and appear on national television.
Though his musical abilities would take him away from the world he grew up in, Jonathan would neither forget the plight of his fellow South Africans, nor the man that led them to freedom.
It is for this reason Nelson Mandela credits Butler’s music as having inspired him during his imprisonment.
In more ways than one, Jonathan Butler is representative of South Africa.
Jonathan’s story begins at a very young age when his father presented him with a homemade one-string guitar. Little did his father realize that he was giving way to a musical phenomenon. From then on, Jonathan’s musical gifts grew by leaps and bounds.
At thirteen, Jonathan’s talents caught the eyes and ears of the British record producer Clive Caulder. He was signed to Caulder’s Jive Records and the rest is history. Jonathan’s first single broke down racial barriers becoming the first song by a black artist played by white radio stations in South Africa.
His commitment to his craft came to fruition with his self-titled debut album, which received a Grammy nomination for the pop hit “Lies.”
An instrumental “Going Home” earned him another nomination and the mid-tempo ballad “Sarah, Sarah” confirmed Butler’s place in popular music.
However, to Butler, success is measured on a higher plane. A religious and spiritual man, Butler dedicates his life to being a devoted father and grandfather, and a caring citizen to his homeland, South Africa.
Berks Arts is a nonprofit organization based in Reading, Pa. whose mission is to Inspire, Engage, and Unite communities through the arts.