Recent Listening: Marcus Strickland


Marcus Strickland, Triumph of the Heavy (SMK). In the liner notes, saxophonist Strickland writes, “Playing for a live audience heightens the adrenaline; you don’t have the luxury of correcting mistakes. It puts you on a high wire.” The second of the album’s two CDs, a club recording, captures his trio’s risk-taking and underlines the influence of an audience that truly listens. Strickland, his twin brother E.J. on drums and Ben Williams on bass hold the crowd’s attention and seem to thrive on … [Read more...]

Pete Rugolo, 1915-2011

Rugolo 2

Pete Rugolo has died in Los Angeles at the age of 95. Rugolo’s composing and arranging, particularly for the Stan Kenton Orchestra, had much to do in the 1940s and ‘50s with the creation of what came to be called progressive jazz. As a discoverer of talent and as a producer, he was responsible for recording a number of artists including Peggy Lee and Mel Tormé. He produced the seminally influential Miles Davis Birth of the Cool sessions of 1949 and ’50. Later, Rugolo led a band of his own and … [Read more...]