with Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life, “Nihil Novi” album release show, Robert Glasper, Kendrick Scott, Derrick Hodge, Lionel Loueke, Ambrose Akinmusire & presented by WBGO & Blue Note Records 75th Anniversary
Fri December 12th, 2014
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 6:30PM
Show Time: 7:30PM
Event Ticket: $40/$75
Our Point of View is a supergroup that celebrates the vitality of Blue Note in honor of Blue Note’s 75th anniversary by looking ahead and assembling the leading young artists on the Blue Note roster who steadfastly continue to move Jazz forward. Featuring trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, keyboardist Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, guitarist Lionel Loueke, drummer Kendrick Scott, and saxophonist Marcus Strickland, the band’s repertoire draws from each of these artists’ own remarkable catalogs as well new spins on Blue Note classics.
$75 VIP opera box seating (2 item food/or drink minimum per person)
This is a general admission, standing event.
Our Point of View
Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life, “Nihil Novi” album release show
Strickland’s desire to preach above and beyond the jazz choir is rooted in his affinity toward a multitude of musical styles. Growing up in a household which encouraged the arts, Strickland’s musical palette had been vast long before his professional endeavors. This broad creative range, along with his emergence as a singular voice on his instrument, helped Strickland land his first recording deal as a leader with the Fresh Sound label, soon after the Miami native graduated from New York’s esteemed New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music; a breeding ground for many who would become today’s most relevant figures in jazz.
Strickland has a covetable list of recording and performing credits, having collaborated with Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, and Dave Douglas, but Strickland’s longest and most impressionable working relationships include two of the most influential drummers ever to play the instrument: Roy Haynes and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Strickland was still attending college when jazz master Roy Haynes asked him to join his Fountain of Youth band. Strickland held the tenor spot for five years before joining Watts; a drummer who is without question at least in-part responsible for ushering in this generation of successors.
As a bandleader, Strickland unsurprisingly takes cues from yet another drummer. “There’s a quote from Art Blakey that just says, ‘Leave the band alone,’ Strickland emphasizes, through an abundance of hearty laughter. “He’s referring to his leading style. You know, don’t tell them how to play! And it’s very important. I want everybody to feel good. I want the band especially to feel good so the music can feel good, and the audience can feel good. I want there to be room for a party. So I write like that, I lead like that.”
Strickland’s critics are listening, too. Over the last five years, Strickland has held some of the most prestigious positions in the realm of jazz journalism: Rising Star on Soprano Saxophone in Downbeat’s 2012 Critic’s Poll Rising Star on Tenor Saxophone in Downbeat’s 2010 Critic’s Poll, Rising Star on Soprano Saxophone in Downbeat’s 2008 Critic’s Poll and Best New Artist in JazzTimes’ 2006 Reader’s Poll. For Strickland, the blueprint for triumph is based on one main principle, “As long as you’re honest, I think nobody can mess with that. I think that’s essential to being an artist… to be yourself. Really expose what’s inside of you, try to put that out there in a very creative and beautiful way that people can enjoy. My whole goal is to make enjoyable music with great depth, and touch as many people as I can with it. That’s all I want to do.”
Marcus Strickland official site
Breakthrough success can often be a tough act to follow. But with a little help from some notable friends, Robert Glasper Experiment is set to up the ante with the follow-up to his successful GRAMMY-winning album Black Radio. Flaunting a diverse array of featured guests including Common, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Brandy, Jill Scott, Dwele, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Luke James, Emeli Sandé, Lalah Hathaway, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Black Radio 2 is certain to surprise and delight critics and fans alike. With a unique fusion of R&B, jazz, and hip-hop that brazenly traverses the boundaries of all three genres, Black Radio 2 finds Glasper and his musical cohorts creating in a vibrant new chasm, brilliantly contrasting its predecessor in the process. (read more here)
In the relatively short span of ten years, drummer and composer Kendrick Scott has established himself as an artist of great versatility and depth. Having toured and recorded with such luminaries as Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, the Crusaders and others, he has proven his ability to adapt his style to virtually any occasion or circumstance, and at the same time maintain his own distinctive voice in the process.
In addition to his work as a support figure, he has also developed a reputation as an innovative composer and bandleader, with the help of his ever-evolving musical collective. The Kendrick Scott Oracle began their creative odyssey in 2007 with an eclectic and ambitious debut recording called The Source, and followed up on its success with Conviction, an album set for release on Concord Jazz in March 2013.
Born in July 1980, Scott grew up in Houston, Texas in a family of musicians whose eclectic interests ran to gospel, classical and R&B. His earliest musical experiences were in his church, where his parents and older brother were involved in the music ministry. “I remember sitting in a pew in church when I was very young, and I remember feeling a chill in my body during one of the songs. I thought, ‘What is this feeling?’ I had to know what it was and what was causing it. I had to be a part of it. I knew even then that the source of that feeling was something that I wanted to pursue.”
By age 8, Scott’s parents set him up with some sticks, pads and drum lessons. The combination of innate talent, discipline and support from his parents earned him a seat in Houston’s renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts – a school whose roster of prestigious alums also includes Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, Mike Moreno, Jason Moran, Eric Harland, Beyoncé, and many others.
“I was naïve enough to never really have any doubt about playing music as a career,” Scott says of his high school years. “I never really thought about the possibility that it couldn’t be done. It was a blessing to just be a part of that environment, where I saw so many guys – like Eric Harland, who was four years older than me – doing great things. When you’re in an environment like that, the extraordinary becomes the ordinary.”
Before finishing high school, Scott won a number of Downbeat Magazine student awards, as well as the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Award from the International Association of Jazz Educators and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. He was later awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music, where he majored in music education.
In addition to long hours of instruction and practice, the Berklee years also presented Scott with the opportunity to establish relationships with prominent artists like Kenny Garrett, Pat Metheny, the Crusaders and others. After he graduated in 2003, he had offers to tour first with the Crusaders, and later with Terence Blanchard. He has played with Blanchard for most of the ten years since.
“Kendrick is a true artist of the highest order,” says Blanchard. “He is not bound by the conventional wisdom of the music world. I’ve noticed that he never says why, but rather why not. He is exactly what the music world needs: someone with the vision and courage to press forward and expand the world of music. I am blessed to have him around and I look forward to seeing what he does every time we play.”
It was Blanchard who encouraged Scott to record The Source, his debut album with Oracle. “He’d been telling me for years to just go ahead and put something out there,” Scott recalls. “He told me that the work doesn’t have to define who you are for all time. It’s just a little piece of who you are in that moment. I actually started recording The Source in 2005, then I re-recorded it in 2006, and then it came out in 2007. All of those early experiences – being around the Crusaders, being around Terence, being around all the other musicians whom I grew up with in my community – that really spurred me to create that CD. I had a lot of people playing on that album, including Robert Glasper and Gretchen Parlato. It was about a sense of musical community that I felt that I should try to capture on a record.”
More than five years after the release of The Source, Conviction is the next step in the creative evolution of Kendrick Scott Oracle – a band whose lineup is now saxophonist and bass clarinetist John Ellis, guitarist Mike Moreno (the only member to also appear on The Source) pianist Taylor Eigsti and bassist Joe Sanders. Guest vocalist and guitarist Alan Hampton makes appearances on two tracks.
“I wanted to make this more of a band statement,” says Scott. “This current lineup of the band just molded itself around this music, and then took it in all different kinds of directions at the same time. It all came together so easily and so well.”
Scott is committed to keeping his artistic vision fresh and new. “Making a piece of art should never have a sense of finality to it,” he says. “When I make a record, I listen to it and I always think about rewriting some part or some section. Sometimes I think that when we play it on the road, it will sound so different to people that they might not even recognize it. It’s that constant state of evolution that I’m hoping to achieve.”
Kendrick Scott official site
Kendrick Scott on Facebook
Kendrick Scott on Twitter
Live Today signals a new journey for bassist and composer Derrick Hodge as he embarks on a solo recording career. The title alludes to his top guiding principle in creating his debut album, a stunning achievement that showcases the profound depth and breadth of his musicality. “This whole album was putting on my composer’s hat, but letting go and making sure that I’m giving people raw examples of how I feel on any given day,” he explains.
Even though Hodge has played with such jazz titans as pianist Mulgrew Miller and trumpeter (and labelmate) Terence Blanchard, as well as R&B stars Jill Scott and Maxwell, the 33-year-old bassist is probably best known for anchoring the Grammy award-winning Robert Glasper Experiment. Similar to how Glasper concocts a distinctive mélange of modern jazz, hip-hop, and R&B, Live Today too integrates those genres and more into something that’s potent and personal. However, it is no Experiment offshoot. Similarities aside, the Live Today asserts a unique sound.
Glasper does contribute on several songs on Live Today, as do the rest of the Experiment members: saxophonist/vocoderist Casey Benjamin, and drummers Chris Dave and Mark Colenburg. Hodge, however, cast a wider net for recruiting musicians. The diverse cast includes rapper Common, singer/guitarist, Alan Hampton, keyboardists James Poyser and Aaron Parks, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, and the American String Quartet, among others.
As a bassist, Hodge tucks in his virtuosic prowess to focus more on the overall compositional sound. “I didn’t think so much about the timbre and the sound of the actual instrument that I play when I wrote this music,” he says, “I gravitated toward the band sound and worked within that framework.”
Derrick Hodge official site
Derrick Hodge on Facebook
Derrick Hodge on Twitter
Photo credit: Chris Baldwin
Hailed as a “gentle virtuoso” by Jon Pareles of The New York Times, guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke follows up his acclaimed Blue Note releases Karibu and Mwaliko with the extraordinary Heritage.Co-produced by piano great and Blue Note label mate Robert Glasper, Heritage finds Loueke at the helm of a new lineup with a more electric sound. In addition, Loueke, long known for his nylon-string acoustic guitar, does not feature that instrument on Heritage. He transitions to steel-string acoustic and electric guitars, joining Glasper, electric bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Mark Guiliana to create music full of churning groove and high-intensity improvisation. Still, Loueke’s gentleness, his gift for poetic melody, remains in the forefront. (read more here)
Ambrose Akinmusire, “a thrilling young trumpeter and astute bandleader [with a] unique spark in his playing” (The New Yorker), brings his artistic vision to the next level with the imagined savior is far easier to paint, his second release for Blue Note Records. The album follows his acclaimed major label debut When the Heart Emerges Glistening, which New York Times critic Nate Chinen named his #1 album of 2011, Akinmusire takes a more compositional turn on the imagined savior…, writing 12 of the 13 tracks and producing the album himself.
While Akinmusire continues to feature his extraordinary working quintet with tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, pianist Sam Harris, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Justin Brown, he also broadens his palette by enlisting guitarist and fellow Northern California native Charles Altura. In addition, Akinmusire unveils gripping new collaborations with the OSSO String Quartet and flutist Elena Penderhughes, as well as vocalists Becca Stevens, Theo Bleckmann, and Cold Specks. (read more here)