Follow Innovative Percussion on Facebook Follow Innovative Percussion on Twitter Instagram YouTube

Marcus Miller
Freedom Jazz Movement
Share On
Share on FacebookTwitter

Throughout his career, Marcus L. Miller has worked with many talented artists and musicians.  Miller's musical journey began playing drums in his mother's Pentecostal church in Virginia.  Between 1983-87, Marcus recorded three albums with various choral ensembles.    After his college years in Virginia, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1993 and immersed himself in the local music scene.  There he continued to hone his chops by playing and recording a plethora of alternative rock fusion music.  He continued his pursuit of jazz by playing with various Bay area groups until he connected with L.A. based percussionist’s Angel Figueroa & Leon Mobley.  Miller states, "They convinced me to leave the Bay for L.A.  I hated to leave, but I knew it was time to go!  These two guys helped to open the doors of the industry for me.  They got me my first professional gigs; globe hopping tours with Ben Harper and a Disney cast member gig as a drummer in the Lion King parade at Disneyland."

Between 1994 and 1996 he performed and toured with Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.  After this stint he moved to Los Angeles and embarked on his professional career as a drummer and artist.  There he met his teacher legendary jazz drummer Clarence Johnston and sat often with the late great mater drummer Billy Higgins.  It was at this time that he began his journey in to the world of West African, Afro-Cuban, & Brazilian styles of percussion.

Marcus has performed with artists the likes of Sheila E., Ashanti, Brenda Russell, Darius Rucker, Tony Furtado, Tim Reynolds, Giovanni Hildago, Ozomatli, The Watts Prophets, Michelle Shocked, Vinx, Steve Coleman, Bennie Maupin, and Bobby Bryant.  A Versatile Drummer, Marcus range includes recording sessions in reggae, West African traditional drumming, jazz, spoken word, hip-hop, rock, blues, gospel and alternative rock music genres styles.

As an Artist, Marcus is afforded many opportunities to connect with young people.  He performs in schools & universities with his jazz ensemble as a roster artist for the Segrestrom Center for the Arts.  His workshops, MarcusMillerDrums, have been a regular fixture in Southern California libraries, schools, and museums such as the California African American Museum since 1998.  Miller also serves as the director of a youth performance ensemble called the Young Drummers of Los Angeles.  Marcus is also a percussion instructor for the City of Los Angeles at the William Grant Still Art Center and works regularly with the Percussion Artists Workshop in Los Angeles, CA.  He maintains a regular roster of 8-10 private drum lessons students’ ages from 6-18. 

Since 2000, Miller has focused most of his creative efforts and energies into his writing and development as a composer and proficient jazz drummer.  With his jazz based ensemble Freedom Jazz Movement, he has recorded eleven albums for his label Universe Soul Records and composed over 100 songs.  Miller composes music for TV, Film, and video as writer and head Jazz and Percussion for Heavy Harmony Music Publishing.

Marcus is the Music Director and principle accompanist for the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.  Together they have toured throughout the United States, Mexico, Russia, and China.  Many of his compositions are used by various choreographers for their modern dance pieces.  He has composed music for Choreographers Lula Washington, Tamica Washington-Miller, Winifred Harris, and Jordi Caballero.  He has worked with Debbie Allen, Cleo Parker-Robinson, Jasmine Guy, and various dancers from The Alvin Alley American Dance Company and The Dance Theatre of Harlem. 

Marcus Miller