There was a hush in the air on the first night Strickland played at Ronnie Scott’s, on offer were tracks from his new album “Nihil Novi”, the audience was expectant and it was right. The new material has been recorded on Blue Note and produced by the formidable Meshell Ndegeocello.
A recipe for a wondrous work.
And indeed such was the night at Ronnies, when Strickland stepped on to the stage, with such flair and yet such humble stride, one wondered how would this be going?
Strickland and his band, Twi-Life, were super-charged, immersed in their notes, in their zone from track 1…
On “Tic Toc”, one could see this straight away from the intense concentration of the drummer, Charles Haynes, at his best on the night and to Kyle Miles on bass, immobile, playing, incredibly statuesque in his pure performance.
With touches of funk and soul, the pace would slow at times like in the elegant “Celestelude”, the crowd was pinned on Strickland and his impeccable playing.
Modest as he was, he would step off stage to give space to the other members of the band, something one doesn’t see too often these days, but yet another proof of the respective nature of the guy.
Strickland’s infectious laughter would resonate throughout the Club as he would take a few interludes and introduce the band and ask the crowd how everyone was feeling and on talking about the music, quoting “we reflect who we are” in it.
I particularly liked “Drive”, an example of multi-layering of music continuously flowing on a high charge.
An incredible show from beginning to end.
Personnel: Marcus Strickland – saxophone; Mitch Henry – keys; Kyle Miles – electric bass; Charles Haynes – drums
Text: Erminia Yardley
Images: Carl Hyde Photography