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Contemporary Jazz - Released November 9, 2018 | Blue Note Records

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With his band Twi-Life, which includes trumpeter Keyon Harrold, bassist Kyle Miles, drummer Charles Haynes, and organist and pianist Mitch Henry, Marcus Strickland has always explored jazz from multiple angles. Produced by Meshell Ndegeocello, the saxophonist’s first album for BlueNote/Revive is influenced by a wide range of styles, drawing inspiration from the late hip-hop producer J Dilla, Fela’s afrobeat, Charles Mingus and even Bartók’s music! With People of the Sun, Strickland tells the musical and social tale of African diaspora from the present to the past with the aim of portraying his own identity: “I thought about where we come from and how that both clashes and goes hand in hand with what we’ve created here as Black Americans”. The result is a beautiful, dense, complex and welcoming album where Western African (the griot culture, afrobeat) and American (post-bop, funk, soul) influences collide and Bilal, Pharoahe Monch, Greg Tate, Jermaine Holmes, Weedie Braimah and Akie Bermiss cross over. These are rather unsurprising choices given that Strickland grew up in Miami surrounded by Haitian sounds, Afro-Cuban rhythms and southern rap, as well as Stevie Wonder, John Coltrane and P-Funk, his father’s favourite artists… This is a multifaceted piece of work zigzagging between Jazz, Soul, Funk and Rhythm’n’Blues in which Strickland’s sax gives us genuine melodic gems. © Max Dembo/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released April 15, 2016 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Since making his debut as a leader with 2001's At Last, Marcus Strickland has established a reputation as a composer of remarkable depth and breadth. On Nihil Novi, his first Blue Note offering, Strickland showcases a new band -- trumpeter Keyon Harrold, keyboardists Mitch Henry and Masayuki Hirano, bassist Kyle Miles, and drummer Charles Haynes. His new tunes offer an even greater array of styles, harmonic textures, and dynamics, and reveal his preoccupation with hip-hop beatmaking. (This isn't a jazz/hip-hop fusion record.) Nihil Novi was expertly and empathetically produced by Meshell Ndegeocello, who also guests on bass. Strickland also brings in some old friends and allies, including Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Pino Palladino, and Chris Bruce. On "Tic Toc," Afro-Peruvian rhythms are accented by a meaty, woody, rolling upright bass and expansive post-bop lyricism. The melody is by muted trumpet and alto and tenor saxophones, countered by a nearly spiritual group vocal chorus. The soaring alto on "The Chant," with Palladino on bass and Dave on drums, resembles the intro to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," but shifts toward a modal center backed by breakbeats and a rumbling, circular bassline. It fades quickly into "Talking Loud," the first of three cuts featuring vocalist Jean Baylor. Its melody, while based on Bartók's 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs, also reveals the profound influence of J Dilla's neo-soul -- especially in the gospelized organ groove and skittering, behind-the-beat snare clips. But Harrold and Strickland offer altering ascending and descending melodies behind the singer, pushing the track over into new territory. "Inevitable" is a lithe, languid, and soulful jazz ballad, where Baylor's vocal is adorned by Glasper's piano and answered by Strickland's bass clarinet, with Harrold's gorgeous solo nearly stealing the show. "Sissoko's Voyage," titled for kora player Banzoumana Sissoko, contains a harmonic weave of Malian folk song and late Nigerian highlife. But the melody is built upon by Harrold and Strickland toward post-bop, even as Bruce's guitar adds punchy Malian blues à la Vieux Farka Touré to its frame. "Celestelude" commences as a bluesy soul-jazz ballad but shifts gears into modal jazz and gripping funk -- due to Ndegeocello's bass and Henry's clavinet -- then back to simmering, elegant post-bop with elements of Afro-funk woven in. Closer "Mirrors," with its martial Afro-beat drumming and Wurlitzer, intersects with Herbie Hancock's proto-funk fusion, Barry White, Norman Connors, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gary Bartz's Ntu Troop. Nihil Novi offers a watershed of ideas. Strickland goes further, deeper, and wider than most who've dabbled in this arena. His beats, as crisp and tight as they are, never hold back the adventure in his tunes; in fact, they are the force that expands their reach. This music is accessible and emotionally resonant, and never leaves jazz out of the equation. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Strick Muzik

After two albums (At Last and Brotherhood) as bandleader of a quintet of precocious jazz talents, Marcus Strickland returns with Twi-Life, an independently released, ambitious double-disc set which finds Strickland working with two separate quartets and soundscapes. The first disc features his acoustic quartet playing seven originals and Wayne Shorter's classic "Oriental Folk Song." The quartet (brother E.J. Strickland, pianist Robert Glasper and bassist Vicente Archer) is a cohesive clan of young musicians that represent the best of their peers on their respective instruments. The result is some inspired interplay that bolsters Strickland's already unique writing voice, one that is both lyrical ("Brooklyn Street Fair") and rhythmic ("Thump and Cadence"). Other times, as on "Beast Within the Beauty," a simultaneously mean and pretty tune with Strickland employing his soprano and tenor sax -- Strickland exhibits his keen ear for both melody and bounce. The second set introduces his newer quartet, where Marcus and Strickland are joined by Lage Lund (guitar) and Brad Jones (electric bass). (It's interesting to note than many of today's younger musicians are beginning to take this same approach, separating acoustic bands and material with their fusion counterparts.) Strickland's second set has a decidedly more commercial appeal and evokes a sound that may turn off a few aficionados, but the musicianship can't be denied; nor can Strickland's inclination to explore be frowned upon when today's music is often stale. If the direction of jazz is being steered by young musicians like Strickland, there is reason for optimism. © Vincent Thomas /TiVo
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Jazz - Released July 1, 2009 | Criss Cross Jazz

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Jazz - Released June 2, 2008 | Fresh Sound Records

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Jazz - Released April 15, 2016 | Blue Note (BLU)

Since making his debut as a leader with 2001's At Last, Marcus Strickland has established a reputation as a composer of remarkable depth and breadth. On Nihil Novi, his first Blue Note offering, Strickland showcases a new band -- trumpeter Keyon Harrold, keyboardists Mitch Henry and Masayuki Hirano, bassist Kyle Miles, and drummer Charles Haynes. His new tunes offer an even greater array of styles, harmonic textures, and dynamics, and reveal his preoccupation with hip-hop beatmaking. (This isn't a jazz/hip-hop fusion record.) Nihil Novi was expertly and empathetically produced by Meshell Ndegeocello, who also guests on bass. Strickland also brings in some old friends and allies, including Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Pino Palladino, and Chris Bruce. On "Tic Toc," Afro-Peruvian rhythms are accented by a meaty, woody, rolling upright bass and expansive post-bop lyricism. The melody is by muted trumpet and alto and tenor saxophones, countered by a nearly spiritual group vocal chorus. The soaring alto on "The Chant," with Palladino on bass and Dave on drums, resembles the intro to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," but shifts toward a modal center backed by breakbeats and a rumbling, circular bassline. It fades quickly into "Talking Loud," the first of three cuts featuring vocalist Jean Baylor. Its melody, while based on Bartók's 15 Hungarian Peasant Songs, also reveals the profound influence of J Dilla's neo-soul -- especially in the gospelized organ groove and skittering, behind-the-beat snare clips. But Harrold and Strickland offer altering ascending and descending melodies behind the singer, pushing the track over into new territory. "Inevitable" is a lithe, languid, and soulful jazz ballad, where Baylor's vocal is adorned by Glasper's piano and answered by Strickland's bass clarinet, with Harrold's gorgeous solo nearly stealing the show. "Sissoko's Voyage," titled for kora player Banzoumana Sissoko, contains a harmonic weave of Malian folk song and late Nigerian highlife. But the melody is built upon by Harrold and Strickland toward post-bop, even as Bruce's guitar adds punchy Malian blues à la Vieux Farka Touré to its frame. "Celestelude" commences as a bluesy soul-jazz ballad but shifts gears into modal jazz and gripping funk -- due to Ndegeocello's bass and Henry's clavinet -- then back to simmering, elegant post-bop with elements of Afro-funk woven in. Closer "Mirrors," with its martial Afro-beat drumming and Wurlitzer, intersects with Herbie Hancock's proto-funk fusion, Barry White, Norman Connors, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Gary Bartz's Ntu Troop. Nihil Novi offers a watershed of ideas. Strickland goes further, deeper, and wider than most who've dabbled in this arena. His beats, as crisp and tight as they are, never hold back the adventure in his tunes; in fact, they are the force that expands their reach. This music is accessible and emotionally resonant, and never leaves jazz out of the equation. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released February 9, 2001 | Fresh Sound Records

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Jazz - Released June 8, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Fresh Sound New Talent

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Jazz - Released June 8, 2020 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Fresh Sound New Talent

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Jazz - Released July 3, 2001 | Fresh Sound Records