The jazz-funk of Marcus Strickland's crack Twi-Life Group is a surprise from the saxophonist who, with twin brother and drummer E.J., was once the Marsalis's heir apparent. Indeed Open Reel Deck plants the group firmly onto a continuum with hip-hop. Both funk and hip hop are for dancing and partying, but this disc (recorded live at Jazz Standard) targets the intellect even as it makes the head bob. It's fun and engaging..." --Michael J. West, JazzTimes
Saxophonist/composer Marcus Strickland is gearing up to lead his new Quartet, Marcus Strickland (tenor sax), Mike Moreno (guitar), Ben Williams (bass) and EJ Strickland (drums) in performances at Blues Alley in D.C. (on September 24) and Chris' Jazz Caf in Philadelphia (on September 26) of new original music, and compositions by the likes of Bjork, Jaco Pastorius, Outkast, and Oumou Sangare. The Quartet is set to record an intriguing new album later this year. These dates represent a chance to get a preview of this exciting new group led by Marcus Strickland.
Where: Blues Alley - 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20007
When: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, Sets are 8:00 & 10:00 PM Cover: $20
Where: Chris' Jazz Cafe - 1421 Sansom St., Philadelphia, PA 19102
When: Friday, September 26, 2008, Sets are 8:00 & 10:00 PM Cover: $12
While Marcus Strickland and his identical twin brother were still in their mother's womb, his parents had planted, and nurtured the seeds for his latest recording, Open Reel Deck (Strick Muzik). Strickland explains, My pop would place my mother's belly near the stereo speaker in hope that we would hear the music from inside. It was timeless music - as in void of fad, free of capsulation. Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Parliament, etc, were all blasting from our parents' instrument of choice during that crucial period of my life - an Open Reel Deck Stereo System (O.R.D.S.). For me, the O.R.D.S. has become a nostalgic metaphor not just for quality, but also for the accumulation of quality regardless of style or familiarity - notice the first word of O.R.D.S. is OPEN. Hence the name for this record is Open Reel Deck - one of my most adventurous projects yet."
Open Reel Deck captures the unveiling of Strickland's new fresh sound to an audience at the Jazz Standard in NYC on April 3rd, 2007. The music, as described by Budd Kopman of All About Jazz, was very powerful, with some of the deepest grooves I have heard in a long time. The extremely solid team of Henderson and E.J. Strickland laid down African rhythms combined with funk as Henderson played long vamp lines that had a strong accent on the first beat of the measure. . . . the rhythm section created an extremely strong-body feel, which all the musicians, especially the trumpeter Harrold, and the audience could not help but move to." Throughout the electrically charged atmosphere of Open Reel Deck" the Twi-Life group displays Strickland's extraordinary compositional skills through funk, hip-hop, afro-beat, rock, ska and jungle grooves, while also showin' off the versatility of his twin brother E.J. on the drums.
More information on Marcus Strickland: It has already been an exciting career for Miami-raised soprano and tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, who was named 'Rising Star, Soprano Saxophone' in DownBeat Magazine's Critic's Poll '08 and 'Best New Artist' in JazzTimes Magazine's Reader's Poll '06; has two releases on Fresh Sound New Talent Records as a leader ("At Last" and Brotherhood"); and currently plays with Dave Douglas, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and Will Calhoun. Strickland also recently ended a five-year stint with legendary drummer Roy Haynes.
Although the aspiring saxophonist has been on two Grammy-nominated recordings ("Fountain of Youth" - Roy Haynes & Keystone" - Dave Douglas), the most intriguing part about Strickland's career is that it has only just begun. This is definitely indicated by his venture: Strick Muzik - his own record label, which was launched in 2006 with an adventurous double CD project featuring two bands of his, and appropriately titled with a play on words Twi-Life", and the newest recording Open Reel Deck", Strickland's exciting new follow up release on Strick Muzik.
Yet another exciting venture, The Marcus Strickland Quartet, sites the rising star tenor and soprano saxophonist in a revealing environment. Melodic and rhythmic interplay are the emphasis of the compositions and improvisations, while Strickland's creativity allows him to provoke the nimble trio into spontaneous performances. In addition to many new captivating originals, Strickland's new Quartet performs adaptations of songs from a diverse palette of artists such as Bjork, Jaco Pastorius, Outkast, and Oumou Sangare. The Group is set to record an intriguing new album later this year.
Strickland has gained professional & artistic integrity through experiences with Lonnie Plaxico, Roy Haynes, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Tom Harrell, Will Calhoun, The Carnegie Hall Big Band, The Mingus Band, the Village Vanguard Band, Milt Jackson Big Band, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra & Reggie Workman's African American Legacy Band, just to name a few.