E.J. Strickland: In This Day (2009)
Between recordings and touring with other bands including Cassandra Wilson, and George Colligan, Strickland found time to headline his own groups in New York City. Fruitful gigs ripe with inventive ideas gave birth to this release, which showcases a first-call quintet of new heaviesbrother Marcus (tenor sax), Jaleel Shaw (alto sax), Hans Glawischnig (bass), and Luis Perdomo (piano), along with many special guests.
From start to finish, Strickland's well-conceived ideas blossom: hard-bopping swing in "Abandoned Discovery"; the heart-pulse of the motherland in "Asante," reminiscent of Randy Weston's African Rhythms; meditative spoken word by Cheray O'Neal ("Eternal" and "In Faith"); and Afro-Cuban influences and contemporary rhythms ("Angular Realms") that are prismatic beams of the drummer's depth and influences.
Strickland is not just a superior player but also a careful listener and composer, allowing not only his quintet but others to shine, such as Pedro Martinez on his infectious djembe, which flows in harmony with Tia Fuller's beautiful flute and Glawischnig's affective bass on the gorgeous "Illusions." It segues perfectly into "Robin," where harpist Brandee Younger and guitarist David Gilmore share a poignant introduction.
Whether it is cyclonic sessions, lush ballads, or spiritual musings, the set has a unique personality that is wide-ranging, logical, and at times brilliant. A very noteworthy debut from the equally talented, other Strickland brother, E.J.
Track Listing: Abandoned Discovery; Asante; Eternal (intro); Eternal; Pedrito's Prelude; New Beginning's; In Faith; In This Day; Angular Realms; Find Myself; Wrong Turn; Illusions; Robin (intro); Robin Fly Away.
Personnel: E.J. Strickland: drums; Jaleel Shaw: alto sax; Hans Glawischnig: acoustic and electric basses; Luis Perdomo: piano, keyboards; David Gilmore: guitar (9, 13); Pedro Martinez: congas, djembe (2, 5, 6, 12); Yosvany Terryl: tenor sax, chekere, bell (6); Charenee Wade: vocals (3); Cheray O'Neal-Mamazun: spoken word (3, 7); Tia Fuller (12); Brandee Younger: harp (13).
Record Label: Strick Muzik
Style: Modern Jazz