Marcus Strickland

Brotherhood

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In his sophomore New Sound effort, Marcus Strickland again tugs at the loose threads of the progressive wing of mid-'60s mainstream jazz. He fronts the same quartet as in his debut, which includes his twin brother E.J. Strickland on drums, pianist Robert Glasper, and bassist Brandon Owen. When they get cooking with guest Jeremy Pelt's blistering trumpet on "Values & Imperatives" or "Predator," they show how passionate evocations of the past can facilitate musicians' search for their own voices. The leader displays that voice most effectively on the ballad "Amen." Unfortunately, the impact of several numbers is muted because of instrument choices. Strickland sounds much less distinctive when he wields soprano, as he does on five tracks, than when blowing the larger, more resonant tenor. Glasper plays the once-again fashionable electric piano on a number of tracks, blurring his usually intriguing lines. Just what this superb young pianist can do is evident on "Predator," where he launches the music into a higher orbit. Overall, Brotherhood offers more evidence that the Stricklands are a potent family act in line with the Marsalis clan.

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