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Marcus Strickland's wildest dream? Save planet Earth

On an unseasonably warm night in January, Jazz Night in America teamed up with LiveControl to film Marcus Strickland Twi-Life at Blue Note Jazz Club. The celebrated venue in New York City hosts the biggest names in jazz and Strickland is no stranger to its stage.

The Grammy-nominated saxophonist and composer's music is steeped in Afrofuturism, the exploration of how the cultures and experiences of the African diaspora intersect with science, philosophy and technology. His latest album, The Universe's Wildest Dream, invites listeners to consider the miracle of life on Earth: a planet on which all the elements have combined in the right balance to foster life as we know it.

Although he directly addresses the topics of climate change, the need to cool Earth by two degrees, and his realization that music existed before humans, in the form of bird songs, it doesn't feel heavy-handed. His compositions are elegant, the melodies are contagious and the overall vibe is upbeat and optimistic. Not to mention, the band is killin': Charles Haynes on the kit, Mitch Henry on organ and keys, and Kyle Miles holding down the low end. The concert is truly delightful and the captivated audience was generous with their applause.


Marcus Strickland, saxophone, compositions; Charles Haynes, drums; Kyle Miles, bass; Mitch Henry, organ and keys.

Set List: (All music written by Marcus Strickland unless otherwise noted)

  • "Joy for Jupiter"
  • "Amydala"
  • "Bird Call"
  • "You & I, An Anomaly"
  • Producer: Nikki Birch; Recording Engineer: Alex Glasgow; Video and Audio provided by LiveControl; Additional Videography: Mitra I. Arthur, Nikki Birch; Audio Mix: Josh Newell; Video Editor: Nikki Birch; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Supervising Editor: Ben de la Cruz, Becky Lettenberger; VP, Visuals and NPR Music: Keith Jenkins; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann.

    Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Nikki Birch
    [Copyright 2024 NPR]