Marcus Strickland, saxophones
Charles Haynes, drums • Kyle Miles, double bass
O’Mitchell Henry, keyboards
(From the Blue Note website)
Born in 1979, jazz saxophonist Marcus Strickland is a charter member of the 21st century jazz vanguard. Similar to the torrent of artists that appeared on the jazz landscape in the early ’80s to pull jazz out of the grasp of the Fusion Era, Strickland, his identical twin brother E.J. Strickland (drummer), and artists such as Jeremy Pelt and Robert Glasper breathed new life into jazz early in the new millennium. During a five-year stint with venerable drummer Roy Haynes, Strickland released two albums on the Fresh Sound New Talent label. At Last was released in 2001, followed by Brotherhood in 2003. Both albums featured precocious peers (Pelt, Glasper, bassist Brandon Owens) playing a lyrical, fiery, contemporary jazz. For the next three years, Strickland toured with artists such as Jeff “Tain” Watts and Haynes and Dave Douglass, while also holding down dates with his own band. In 2006, he independently released Twi-Life, an adventurous double-album on his own label, Strick Muzik. The album received much critical praise and proclaimed him “Best New Artist” in the JazzTimes Readers’ Poll. In 2007, the Twi-Life Group released a live album entitled Open Reel Deck on Strick Muzik. The album featured Lage Lund on guitar, Carlos Henderson on electric bass, and E.J. Strickland on drums, as well as trumpeter Keyon Harrold, the hip-hop-tinged poetry of Malachi, and one track with pianist Jon Cowherd. The album displayed the curious side of Strickland’s compositional skills through funk, hip-hop, Afro-beat, rock, ska, and jungle grooves. Strickland was voted “Rising Star, Soprano Saxophone” in Downbeat Magazine’s 2008 Critic’s Poll. He released two albums in 2009 – Of Song on the Criss Cross label and Idiosyncrasies on his label under the new name of SMK. Of Song, with brother E.J., Ben Williams, and David Bryant was a more straight-ahead set, whereas Idiosyncrasies featured Strickland’s increasingly daring compositions. Throughout his career, Strickland has worked with a variety of artists, including Mos Def, Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, and the Charles Tolliver Big Band, Tom Harrell, among others.
Charles Haynes, two time Grammy nominated producer and drummer, is a defying musician whose mastery of modern drumming, including jazz, gospel, Hip Hop, Folk and R&B, have lead him to work with array of amazing artists. This resume boasts serving as Musical Director (MD) for Ayo and Co-Musical Director for Lady Gaga. His impeccable skills of percussion have also accompanied Kanye West, Mos Def, Meshell N’degeocello, UK superstar Ed Sheeran and “MIA”, Queen Latifah, Ledisi, the legendary Patti LaBelle, Al Green, gospel giant Kirk Franklin, Kim Burrell, acclaimed jazz musician Roy Hargrove, Kenny Garrett, and Grammy recipients Marcus Miller, Jason Moran, and Robert Glasper. The list continues.
Kyle Miles is an electric and acoustic bassist hailing from Boston, MA, now currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. He began his life as a student of music early on, and has since been honing his skills throughout the years with education and experiences. As a graduate of Berklee College of Music and a humble human being, Kyle has been successfully working as a professional freelance bassist. Throughout his career, he’s had the honor of sharing musical experiences with a number of high caliber artists, among whom recently include: Marcus Strickland, Keyon Harrold, Meshell N’degeocello, Chris Dave, Charles Haynes, José James, Robin McKelle, Nick Hakim, Johnathan Pinson, Jake Sherman, Yasser Tejeda, and many others.
O’Mitchell Henry (Mitchytime) is a multi-instrumentalist and Grammy nominated writer /producer with a God-giving talent for music from the heart. His primary instrument is piano, and he started playing at the age of 5. With his gospel-roots and motivation from his family, who were also singers and musicians, he was bound to be a musical vessel. At the age of 15 he competed in the Black Caucus Gospel Choir competition with his high school (Ridgeview high school) and won “Best Keyboardist” in 2005. In 2008 he auditioned for the Berklee College of Music and was accepted without hesitation. There he worked with musicians/singers such as Grammy award winning Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding in events such as “Pearl Festival” in Chicago. He also has a harmonically rich sound on the organ that owes a great debt to Jimmy Smith and his peers he grew up with and other members of the Hammond organ pantheon. In his best moments he seems to capture breath of gospel, jazz, and fusion idioms to create a beautiful honest sound. He is a great accompanist, and excels great as a producer and a sideman. A great deal of technique is involved when you hear Mr. Henry play. He regularly subordinates it to a narrative arch and exhibits a maturity that surpasses his years. Traveling over the globe touring and doing television work such as David O. Russell film “American Hustle” (keyboardist) puts a stamp on his credibility. O’Mitchell is currently lending his talent with churches, local artist and the production of several projects for other artist. He is working on his own project which is to be released in 2014.
Other artist OMitchell has worked with: Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Frank McComb, Jeff Lee Johnson, Michael Bearden (MD for Michael Jackson), Richard Smallwood (gospel concert at Berklee), Sammy Adams (rapper for party records tour), Aaron Camper (No More and Madness credit). Brian McKnight (gig), Casey Benjamin, Robert Glasper, Jessie J, MeShell D, Oleta Adams, Blanche McAllister (singer for Donald Lawrence), Nona Hendryx, Marcus Strickland, Ruthie Foster, and Floetry.
Went to Berklee College of Music from ‘08-’10.