Marcus Strickland is one of the rising stars on the jazz scene although he may not be familiar to the masses. Recently named Jazztimes 2006 Newcomer of the Year on the strength of his latest cd "Twi-life". A two-disc set, this release features 2 different bands on each disc. On disc one, the energy level is high as the band rips through the opening track "Oriental Folk Song". On the ballad "An Oasis of Bronze", Marcus moves from tenor sax to soprano sax and, with the help of Robert Glasper, creates gorgeous melodies. The highlight of the disc is the ten minute plus "Brooklyn Street Fair". Marcus's band displays a cohesion that is consistent with a band that has worked together on a regular basis. Marcus's playing, in particular, is always passionate but never over the top. Drummer EJ Strickland, Marcus's twin brother knows when to bring fire to the track when it warrants and when to caress the melody, which he does here and throughout both sets. The second disc is a little more mellow, yet the band grooves throughout. This band is minus Glasper but guitarist Lage Lund and electric guitarist Brad Jones join in. Highlights include "The Nottage Cottage" where Marcus and Lage engage on top of the groove laid down by EJ. Lage and Jones also shine on "Paradigm". They create warm melodies without getting in the other's way. All but two songs were composed by Marcus which all the more impressive when you consider that this is a two disc set. Sometimes you want the artist to trim down the songs and make one disc with his best work. However, each cd carries its own weight and both are very enjoyable. With each release, Marcus Strickland proves that he is just scratching the surface of his immense talent.