It's been 22 years since the untimely death of singer Marvin Gaye, but there's no forgetting the man who sang such classics as "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and "What's Going On." Jazzman Jason Miles is the latest in a long line of musicians to pay tribute to this legendary performer.
The Marvin Gaye story has anything but a happy ending. At age 44, Marvin was enjoying a comeback when his father shot him to death during an argument on April 1, 1984. A year earlier, he won a Grammy Award for his hit song "Sexual Healing," from an album that sold in excess of two million copies. His performances on the Grammy broadcast, at Radio City Music Hall, and on the Motown 25th Anniversary television special sealed his return. Little did anyone know that Marvin Gaye would give his final concert while on tour in August 1983.
Enter Jason Miles, a keyboard player who made his mark on New York's jazz-fusion scene in the 1970s. Since then, he's worked with some of the top names in jazz and R&B, and has recorded several successful solo albums. No stranger to tributes, Miles got the idea to honor Marvin Gaye after hearing the late singer's songs being played in a restaurant. Miles calls him one of the most influential artists of our time.
Without missing a beat, Miles assembled a stellar group of singers and musicians for What's Going On: Songs Of Marvin Gaye, including vocal veteran Bobby Caldwell.
Also at work on some of Marvin Gaye's most-popular tunes are trumpeter Herb Alpert on "Let's Get It On," saxophonist Jay Beckenstein on "Too Busy Thinkin' Bout My Baby," bassist Marcus Miller on "Heavy Love Affair," and up-and-coming soul singer Mike Mattison on the title track, "What's Going On."