Sep 24, 2011
Marcus Strickland's seventh recording Triumph of The Heavy Volume 1 & 2 (available on Strick Muzik, September 27, 2011) is a major statement from the critically-acclaimed and world renowned saxophonist. In demand as a sideman, he is ready now to take his place as one of the most innovative and exciting sax players around.
This ambitious two-CD set allows Strickland to show a polished studio side along with a vibrant live set. Strickland and his quartet of David Bryant (piano), Ben Williams (bass) and E.J. Strickland (drums) stretch and reinvent their repertoire, spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT on Disc 2.
The title, Triumph of the Heavy, grew out of an experience Strickland had with his girlfriend. The saxophonist explains, "once upon a time, some months after I started seeing my girlfriend Dawn, we were in the car listening to my iPod. We'd never listened to her music in the car, so I said to her 'hey, why don't you put on your iPod?' So she does. And her immediate reaction after hearing her music was, 'You know what? This sounds kind of light compared to the music you listen to.' And that really stuck with me because often times many things have been extracted from commercial music so it can appeal to the masses. Quite often in the music industry, there's an entity (a producer, manager or A & R guy) trying to get artists to adulterate their sound so it's more 'accessible. After that day in the car I wanted to associate the title of my next recording with weight, because I wanted to express that music with substance, a strong sound and which takes risks can triumph, it can move people. It can, in fact, appeal to a greater audience. But, as demonstrated through my girlfriend's experience, only if we give it a chance through exposure. So that's what I call it: Triumph of the Heavy."
I spoke with Marcus recently, as he prepared to head to Detroit for a gig with Jeff “Tain” Watts, and for the live premiere of the CD at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan. He is also set to be one of the headliners at the first Northampton (MA) Jazz Festival on October 1. Click here and listen to our conversation, along with tracks from the new CD and other Strickland work, including:
Marcus Strickland – “Mudbone” from Triumph of the Heavy. Titled for a character played by the late Richard Pryor”, this is one of the most vibrant and fun songs in the Strickland repertoire.
Marcus Strickland – “Lilt” from Triumph of the Heavy. David Bryant kicks off the studio CD in the new 2 disc collection with this tune that doesn’t lilt as much as scamper, feint and hop.
Marcus Strickland – “Surreal” from Triumph of the Heavy. Intended to capture a piece of artwork – listen to Marcus’ comments for real insight.
E.J. Strickland - “Angular Realms” from In This Day. E.J.’s debut on the Strick Muzic label featured a core band of E.J. on drums, Jaleel Shaw on alto sax, Marcus on saxes, Luis Perdomo on piano and Hans Glawischnig on bass. All the compositions were E.J.’s and the album was produced by long-time collaborator Ravi Coltrane.