Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
SOMEBODY PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS
B | houston, tx | 07/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If anyone ever finds this review, you deserve a medal. Recordings on this record label, Fresh Sound New Talent, are next to impossible to find even on Amazon, but the talent on this label really is first rate. Marcus Strickland and his brother EJ (who plays drums on this) come from south carolina or something and they're really good. Robert Glasper, the piano/rhodes player, hails from my hometown and the performing arts school I just graduated from in Houston. The bass player has mysteriously abandoned jazz by now although his soloing vocabulary on bass is remarkable.Marcus placed 3rd in the Monk competition, bested only by John Ellis and Seamus Blake. He has a very identifiable style, although it is rooted in the current New York tenor style, he makes it his own with a spiritual emotional quality that defies explanation. He also has a way of making complicated changes with simpler harmonic devices, making everything he does sound much easier than it is. His cohorts, notably pianist Robert Glasper, are perfect group members for him; he has really formed a group instead of just finding a couple dudes to play with. Glasper has a very unique sound as well; although he doesn't lend any of his beautiful compositions to this recording, he makes his mark on it with tasteful but energetic rhodes playing and lush comping.The evolved texture of Strickland's compositions is a welcome development. The tracks are (Amazon doesn't provide them at this point) 1 Brotherhood (an intro of sorts, very climactic though) 2 Values & Imperatives (more in the neo bop tradition, features trumpet guest Jeremy Pelt) 3 Splendour (a very memorable motivic piece with an interesting rhythmic shift and a lot of emotional possibility) 4 Amen (a meditative but forceful song) 5 Predator (a fast and tricky piece with Jeremy Pelt) 6 Epiphany (a slower piece that jams in an unusual sort of way) 7 Excerpt (a faster piece with trading and a cool vamp) 8 Saouse (one of the prettiest songs on the album) 9 The Unsung Hero (the best and most understated song written by a drummer of the 21st century).Several, if not all of the pieces, display some of the harmonic conventions found in the better and less trendy forms of neo soul music as well as modern gospel and soul music in general. It is spiritual and soulful in a more classy and erudite fashion than one would expect, especially if hearing the word "soulful" makes you think of Kirk Whalum. The group has chemisry, the soloists are creative artists as well as well educated and trained musicians, and this is a very mature and distinguished effort instead of a showoff piece. This camp of musicians should get more attention and a better distributer, because this development in jazz is just as important as Greg Osby's thing and Rosenwinkel's thing and even Wynton's think, if you can call it his thing at all."