Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


Marcus Strickland Quartets: Twi-Life

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Twi-Life, Marcus Strickland's third album and the first for his newly created Strick Muzik imprint, offers a glimpse at two aspects of the saxophonist's ever-widening range. The first disc is a relatively straight-ahead date with his quartet featuring pianist Robert Glasper and bassist Vicente Archer, while the second introduces his Twi-Life group with bassist Brad Jones and guitarist Lage Lund. Both quartets feature Strickland's twin brother EJ on drums—and, like other noteworthy twins such as Nels and Alex Cline or Louis and François Moutin, they share a connection that transcends experiential chemistry and borders on telepathy.

The clear delineation between the discs is more by design than due to the capabilities of any specific player. A look at the collective resume of the six artists reveals a spectrum ranging from the modern post bop of veteran drummer Roy Haynes' quintet to the gritty R&B of Don Byron's Junior Walker tribute and electronica tinge of Dave Douglas' Keystone group. While everyone possesses individual strengths and personality, Strickland could easily interchange any member of one group for the other; the premise of each group is the real differentiator.

The first disc opens with a piano-less trio look at Wayne Shorter's "Oriental Folk Song, though it's not until the closing bars that the familiar melody finally breaks through in its entirety. It's an auspicious beginning. Strickland's robust tenor reflects some of Shorter's economy and thoughtful consideration, but also a paradoxically visceral litheness that's supported by Archer's strummed chords and EJ's roiling maelstrom.

The balance of the disc consists of Strickland originals. On the lyrical "The Beast Within Beauty, Strickland's soprano avoids the more nasal quality inherent in Shorter and Coltrane's playing, before he switches to tenor for its solo section. Glasper's playing is outstanding, suggesting that Blue Note's exposure of the pianist to the spotlight may have been premature. Whether the material is metrically challenging, harmonically complex or swinging with fire, Glasper's playing manifests a pervasive confidence and rich inventiveness that surpasses his own solid Canvas (Blue Note, 2006).

Strickland's quartet on disc one stretches out considerably more than his Twi-Life group, where Lund's warm, mostly clean hollowbody tone contrasts sharply with Jones' brighter edge. The guitar may not have the piano's range, but Lund's voicings create a refreshing openendedness, a harmonic ambiguity that is anchored by EJ's in-the-pocket groove-centricity. The writing—again all by Marcus, with the exception of EJ's dark, brush-driven "In Faith —is more rhythmically complex and posits a different kind of dynamic than the other quartet.

Throughout Strickland demonstrates why he's become such an in-demand player in such a short time. Though he has indisputable chops, he also understands the value of space and the power of tone. Twi-Life delivers on the promise of his earlier Fresh Sound New Talent releases and suggests a bright future for this fine saxophonist, composer and bandleader.

Visit Marcus Strickland on the web.

Track Listing: CD1: Oriental Folk Song; The Beast Within Beauty; Thump & Cadence; An Oasis of Bronze; Sesame Street; Smoothie; Brooklyn Street Fair; The Whole Page. CD2: Majesty; Shift; Haile Selassie; In Faith; The Nottage Cottage; Moon Ruler; Glitch; Paradigm; Twi-Life.

Personnel: Marcus Strickland: tenor and soprano saxophones, reeds; Robert Glasper: piano; Vicente Archer: acoustic bass; Lage Lund: guitar; Brad Jones: electric bass; E.J. Strickland: drums.

Title: Twi-Life | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Strick Muzik


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Up All Night" CD/LP/Track Review Up All Night
by Doug Collette
Published: January 1, 2018
Read "Tales From Under" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From Under
by James Nadal
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "My Love" CD/LP/Track Review My Love
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Astoria Roots Live" CD/LP/Track Review Astoria Roots Live
by James Nadal
Published: May 17, 2017