Marcus Strickland -|- Of Song – [Criss Cross, 2009]
I’m someone who listens mostly to the great, classic artists of jazz, like Clifford Brown, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane, so it’s rare when a contemporary jazz musician (other than Sonny Rollins) knocks me flat. But Marcus Strickland has the purity of tone, the heart, the sense of invention that keeps me coming back to this album over and over again. It’s quite simply beautiful.
In some ways, this CD reminds me of Coltrane’s “Ballads” album, lovely playing, certainly, but it’s not the place one would go for the music most original to Trane. In a similar way, “Of Song” has a clear, lyric beauty, but for the music most original to Marcus Stickland, there are other places to look.
In particular, there are three other CDs I’d highly recommend: “At Last,” Strickland’s first as leader; “Brotherhood,” his second, and “Idiosyncrasies,” his most recent as of this writing. While the latter is all trio work and one of his best, the first two feature an absolutely amazing quartet, with Robert Glasper on piano–the Tyner to MS’s Trane–but, unfortunately, these two CDs are difficult to find (they were produced by a Spanish label, Fresh Sound, which apparently hasn’t done very much to make them available in the U.S., which is a terrible shame). This artist is so young, and his career so new, that it may be difficult to say right now which CDs are the most significant in his body of work, but at this point I’d have to say that “At Last,” “Brotherhood,” and “Idiosyncrasies” are all essential Strickland. —Ben Bevis /Amazon.com
..:: Source: Amazon.com ::..