All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

523

Marcus Strickland: Open Reel Deck

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
In an All About Jazz.com article titled "What the #%! Happened to Black Popular Music?," the question was articulated on the current state of African American popular music with insights on its past, present, and future. Whether you're nostalgic and miss the sounds of Motown or have a love/hate relationship with the current music scene, the debate will undoubtedly continue. But jazz saxophonist Marcus Strickland could unknowingly be answering part of the question on Open Reel Deck .

Strickland is an aspiring musician, having created a name performing with the likes of drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, winning the Jazz Times Readers Poll for "Best New Artist" in 2006, and producing noteworthy records including Twi-Life (Strick Music, 2006). Like other contemporaries, his music is a reflection of his environment, soaking up many influences, in and outside of jazz.

Recorded live at the Jazz Standard in April 2007, this is a clear statement of Strickland's ideas with the Twi-Life band—brother E.J. Strickland (drums), Carlos Henderson (bass) and Mike Moreno (guitar). Guests include the fiery new trumpeter Keyon Harrold and pianist Jon Cowherd on one track. Those familiar with Twi-Life can expect more of the same groove-centric jazz, but the striking gong in this band's lineup is heard when the music is blended with the compelling spoken word lyricist named Malachi.

This urban stew and brew is thick with the freedom of live music that is funky, thought provoking, with the band putting down neo-soul beats, "old school" style horn arrangements and free solos. The music is perfectly balanced with Malachi's incredible freestyle—expressing "positive" words/poems about life, music, spirituality, and self-awareness. His voice is an instrument and his words are the notes, backed by the rhythm section and Moreno's chilled guitar riffs on favorites including "Pilgrimage" and "Virture."

A few of the songs feature the quartet by themselves—a ballad, "Subway Suite 2nd Movement," and up-tempo burners "Sneaky Deaky," "Prospectus," and "Volatility." Artistic touches give a few shorter pieces an intentional "Lo-Fi" sound quality that would've been better if they were heard more clearly. But, overall, Open Reel Deck is a resounding success, giving a glimpse into music that thrives with creativity and quality, in the here and now.

Track Listing: Intro (Vista); Open Reel Deck; In-; Pilgrimage; Sneaky Deaky; -cep-; Subway Suite 2nd Movement; -tion; Prospectus; Virtue; Volatility; Outro (Vista).

Personnel: Marcus Strickland: tenor saxophone; Mike Moreno: guitar; E.J. Strickland: drums; Carlos Henderson: electric bass; Keyon Harrold: trumpet (1-4, 10, 12); Malachi: spoken word (2, 4, 6, 10, 12); Jon Cowherd: piano (7).

Title: Open Reel Deck | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Strick Muzik

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Little Giant Still Life" CD/LP/Track Review Little Giant Still Life
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 15, 2017
Read "Frames & Terrains" CD/LP/Track Review Frames & Terrains
by John Sharpe
Published: March 25, 2018
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 31, 2017
Read "Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Interchange
by Don Phipps
Published: August 2, 2018
Read "Whispers on the Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read "Bricks" CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017