Saxophonist Marcus Strickland is gearing up to release his new album Nihil Novi this Friday on the Revive Music imprint on Blue Note Records. Last night, the saxophone player got his band of friends together to celebrate the release and give us a sneak peak of the album’s material. Amongst Strickland’s friends were Keyon Harrold (trumpet), Masayuki Bigyuki Hirano (keys), Mitch Henry (keys), Kyle Miles (bass), and Charles Haynes (drums). To make the sound even sweeter, the band was joined at times by very special guests Jean Baylor (on vocals) and the one and only Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave on a second drum kick.
The band, which Strickland calls Twi-Life, dances around the modern soul-jazz landscape that is being spearheaded by the likes of Terrace Martin, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Kamasi Washington. When Jean Baylor lends her vocals to the group on the songs “Talking Loud” and “Alive,” it’s soulful and vibrant. When Dave is behind the kit, the beats are literally jerking your head back and forth, as heard on “Mingus.”
Keyon Harrold, who recently played many of the trumpet parts heard on the movie Miles Ahead, really pushed the band over the edge with his trumpet skills. His playing is passionate, concise, and hits you right in the pit of your stomach. In addition to his horn, the Ferguson, MO-born cat lends his voice to the heartfelt “Mantra” off Nihil Novi.
The album, along with the performance last night, channels R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, and even elements of dance music and afro beat along with the straight-forward modern jazz sound. The performance was filmed with multiple cameras, leaving us hungry for the footage to come out at the proper time. The album is available for pre-order now.