2018’s been a bountiful time for jazz, and the year’s not even up yet. The latest album you should get on if you haven’t already: People of the Sun by Marcus Strickland.
Backed by his band Twi-Life, the saxophonist has crafted an 11-track release that mixes sounds and influences from the African diaspora—from griot culture to Afrobeat—with American traditions like funk, soul and beat music in an attempt to unpack his identity.
“I’m thinking about where we came from,” he said in a statement, “and how that clashes and goes hand in hand with what we’ve created here as black Americans.”
There are a number of guests on the album: organist Mitch Henry on the title track, djembe master Weedie Braimah on the opener “Lullaby” and D’Angelo associate Jermaine Holmes on “Aim High.” Particularly stacked is the standout “On My Mind,” which features neo-soul singer Bilal, rapper Pharoahe Monch and cultural critic Greg Tate.
Stream People of the Sun, out on Blue Note / Revive Music, below: