523

Marcus Strickland: Open Reel Deck

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Marcus Strickland: Open Reel Deck 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).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Strick Muzik | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Morph" CD/LP/Track Review Morph
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "Rubicon" CD/LP/Track Review Rubicon
by John Kelman
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Forgive and Forget" CD/LP/Track Review Forgive and Forget
by Edward Blanco
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Untitled" CD/LP/Track Review Untitled
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 13, 2016
Read "Rising Colossus" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Colossus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.