Autumn Suite presents: Marcus Strickland's CD Release Party: Triumph of the Heavy, Vol. 1 & 2 @ LPR
Sep 29, 2011 06:30 AM - 09:30 AM
Marcus Strickland's CD Release Party: Triumph of the Heavy, Vol. 1 & 2
Marcus Strickland’s seventh recording Triumph of the Heavy, Vol. 1 & 2 (available on Strick Muzik, September 27, 2011) is a definitive statement from the critically-acclaimed and world renowned saxophonist. This ambitious two-CD set takes the listener on a journey from the studio to the stage alongside a highly-developed Marcus Strickland; one who is very sure of what he’s doing on the saxophones (soprano, alto and tenor), and very comfortable taking risks.
On Volume 1 (laid down at Systems Two in Brooklyn, NY) Strickland records on the alto saxophone (his new P. Mauriat alto) for the first time (on tracks 4, 6, 7, 9, 10), and recorded the band while the music, a whole new set of originals, was still new to the musicians. This half of the recording is the documentation of the birth of his new quartet, featuring David Bryant, who fully embraced Strickland’s percussive writing and approach for the piano in a quartet setting, the third Strickland “brother,” Ben Williams on bass, and twin brother E.J. Strickland on drums. “In a way I added more excitement to the studio process by recording while the music was fresh, while it was close to the beginning of its development and interpretation,” explained Strickland.
In contrast to Volume 1, on Volume 2 the trio displays the incredible results of extended touring together as they stretch and reinvent their repertoire, spurred on by an enthusiastic crowd at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT. The musical conversations and interactions are on an extraordinary level, only possible with time and trust. Strickland explains further, “The biggest development is trust: we trust each other more on this record than on Idiosyncrasies (StrickMuzik, 2009) because that was towards the beginning of the trio. And when trust is at such a height, it allows many spontaneous things to happen. It’s very exciting. Playing with E.J. and Ben gets a performance out of me that’s like no other with anybody else. While playing the track ‘Surreal’, for example, I remember we were very in tune with the groove. It was swinging extremely hard and I did some things on the horn that I didn’t know I could do before the session. And that’s what it’s all about. That feeling is like no other!”
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.”
On Triumph of the Heavy Volume 1 & 2, a double CD release, we are hearing one of the most in demand and respected saxophonists/composers on the scene today, playing and composing near the pinnacle of his artistry – “near” because, as this music clearly and strongly indicates, Marcus Strickland is a musician intent on continuously evolving and expanding, technically and creatively.
"Like Newk before him, Strickland has assembled a set of tunes with strong, direct melodies that inspire boundless reveries...Strikingly, the leader's own originals are just as memorable, and tailor-made for his tightly attuned trio…Throughout the album, the trio maintains a sound both sparse and rich, with a relaxed ease that allows for experimentation but without the airiness ever feeling empty." - Shaun Brady, DownBeat
“Great knots of sound, breezy lines continuously unfurling – Strickland puts pressure on himself to carry the ball and he’s been gaining a lot of yardage lately...want to hear how those qualities play out on the stand? Of course you do.” – Jim Macnie, The Village Voice
“a streamlined acoustic trio date, steeped in jazz heritage even as it foregrounds inventive takes on tunes by OutKast, Oumou Sangare, Jaco Pastorius and others.” – David Adler, TimeOut New York
“this album, with Mr. Strickland distributing his intensity carefully over a subtle, flexible rhythm section, is of a whole other order...It’s a record you can give to friends who aren’t keeping score with jazz. That’s good...” – Ben Ratliff, The New York Times (on Idiosyncrasies)
“Strickland has started to turn heads in the most thriving but most competitive jazz scene on the planet...his tone: liquid and luminous, yet forceful and exact.” “simply one of jazz’s shining young saxophonists.” – JazzTimes
“one of the most creative and adventurous saxophonists on the NYC scene” – JazzWise Magazine
158 Bleecker St. between Thompson and Sullivan
New York City
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