Aug 15, 2009
Strick Muzik is a family affair. Marcus Strickland, in collaboration with his twin brother E.J. found that after years of either recording for small labels or being passed over by larger labels afraid to take a chance on his talent, in order to make the music he wanted the way he wanted, he'd have to go the D.I.Y. approach and create his own label.
Enter Strick Muzik, which is featuring two formidable releases this month. Marcus, who has recorded two CDs under his own name in addition to working with Jeff "Tain" Watts, Dave Douglas, Roy Haynes and Will Calhoun, has assembled a trio album entiteld Idiosyncracies (although to read the title on the CD, it's "Id I O Syn Crasies"). Recording covers from the likes of Bjork, Stevie Wonder and Andre 3000 alongside his originals, Strickland has made a powerful recording, stripping the songs down to their basic elements.
E.J. Strickland's long overdue debut as a band leader is a solid quintet CD. All originals, the music has a strong spiritual sound, the band meshing on song after song, sometimes soaring, sometimes whispering. After years of working with Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, Herbie Hancock, and Cassandra Wilson, it's good to see him stepping out on his own.
Podcast 158 is a conversation with Marcus Strickland, discussing the "indie scene" in jazz recordings, why he thinks the soprano sax might get a bad rap, and what's next for the brothers and their label. Featured are two tracks form each of their new CDs, including:
Marcus Strickland - "Middle Man" from Idiosynracies. A Marcus original features his powerful sax style, working hand in hand with drummer/brother E.J. Strickland and bassist Ben Williams.
Marcus Strickland - "Scatterheart" from Idiosynracies. Marcus spoke about taking this Bjork tune, which was highly produced as her original, and stripping it down to "the bare essentials" for his trio. Mission accomplished.
E.J. Strickland - "Abandoned Discovery" from In This Day. The Quintet brother E.J. put together takes on a whole different sound that Marcus' CD. Jaleel Shaw is on alton, Marcus on tenor, Luis Perdomo on piano and Hans Glawischnig on bass. Ravi Coltrane, with whom E.J. often plays, is the producer for the sessions.
E.J. Strickland - "Eternal (intro)/Eternal" from In This Day. Several of E.J.'s compositions feature spoken or vocal introductions. Here the band is joined by Cheray O'Neal's spoken voice reading the poem she co-write with E.J. and Charenee Wade on vocals.