Marcus Strickland: Portrait of Tracy


Portrait Of Tracy


Marcus Strickland (soprano sax)


Idiosyncrasies (Strick Muzik SMK0040)

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Marcus Strickland (soprano sax), Ben Williams (bass), E.J. Strickland (drums).

Composed by Jaco Pastorius


Recorded: December 1, 2008


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

When Jaco Pastorius first uncovered “Portrait Of Tracy” within his stunning 1976 debut album, he was able to bring out the pure beauty of the melody unaccompanied on electric bass. It wasn’t just because Pastorius was such a astounding player, he was a gifted composer, too. Strickland understood that when he chose to cover this song; the very attribute of the song not needing much accompaniment to sound pretty made it a logical choice for an album where he’s backed only by a bass and drums.

For this rendition, Williams and Marcus’ twin brother E.J. quickly settle into a groove, but once Marcus states the theme just once, the three hit the reset button and play the more pensive chord progression of the song. The leader walks the line between improvising and carrying the melody by stating the melody first and delving into interesting variations of it when the theme is visited again. Williams is concurrently engineering a cagey bassline, strong enough to allow the drummer to fill out the sound with cymbal overhangs and snappy snare work.

All told, the Strickland doesn’t stray much from Jaco’s graceful composition, but honors it instead with a tight, incisive trio performance.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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