Marcus Strickland

Marcus Strickland. Photo by Rudd Lips.

If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, “Have you ever heard of Marcus Strickland?”, I honestly would have to say the answer would be, “No”.

So, how is it possible not to know a guy who played with big jazz names like Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and Roy Hanes, and also recorded the album, Of Song for the fine Dutch Criss Cross label?

Yes, I know, it’s a true disgrace.

But, since I dug into his CD collection and heard the man play live, I am a fan!

Last week, he and his band played an intimate gig at the newest jazz club in Rotterdam, ‘Bird’.

One thing is for sure, Marcus certainly knows how he can ‘bridle’ his instruments.

Although, the small but cozy venue wasn’t completely sold out, with a sparkle of humor he introduced each tune to bring his audience closer to his fine music.

Of course, he played tunes from his most recent album, Triumph of the Heavy, Vol. 1 & 2.

Strickland not only proves to be a wonderful composer, but also he is a great arranger; confirming with his beautiful interpretation of the Stevie Wonder classic, You’ve Got It Bad, Girl.

Earlier that day, two of his delicate saxophones were damaged after a cab driver accidentally dropped them. With the help of Friso Heidinga, a well-known artisan saxophone builder and repairman from Amsterdam, he also could play the alto. Even though it was not his own instrument, he played it with great love and care.

His twin brother E.J. on drums together with very nice bass playing of Ameen Saleem were the absolute the steady and rock solid foundation of the evening. David Bryant, added accompaniment on the baby grand.

The man is absolutely a very talented saxophone player who definitely earns a larger audience and a bigger stage. That’s for sure!

And, with some imagination, somewhere in the background, you might even hear Wayne saying, “This sounds cool brother”.

For the latest information on Marcus Strickland, check out his official website,

By Jurgen Gudde, Rotterdam Holland

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