Marcus Miller is a Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer. During his career, he has produced and played on albums for Miles Davis and Luther Vandross (including playing the bassline for Luther's mega-hit Never To Much (1981)), recorded and/or performed with Herbie Hancock, Frank Sinatra, Beyoncé, LL Cool J and Elton John, and scored for films such as Boomerang (starring Eddie Murphy/Grace Jones/Eartha Kitt), Think Like A Man (starring Kevin Hart/Romany Malcolm/) and Marshall (starring Chadwick Boseman).
Miller was inspired to write this tune after visiting the island of Gorée while on tour in Senegal. Although he experienced many different emotions including resentment and anger, he wanted to make this song 'a celebration of the ability of human beings to overcome horrible periods of history'. Having been to Elmina Castle in Ghana myself, it's difficult to explain the mixed emotions that happen when looking through the Door Of No Return.
Here's a live version featuring Miller on the bass clarinet, and an amazing solo by Alex Han on the soprano saxophone.
Ideas for discussion questions:
How does the studio version differ from the live version?
Can you find out about Gorée Island and what happened there?*
(Live version) How do Marcus Miller and his band show pain but celebrate in the same song?
This song is written about what enslaved people went through. Is it ok to write or perform music about anything?
What do you feel listening to Marcus Miller playing the bass clarinet?
(Live version) What do the arpeggios in Brett Williams' intro remind you of?
(Live version) How does Marcus Miller's solo end and Alex Han's begin?
*There is some dispute as to what Gorée Island was really used for