Hawkline Picks Boston’s Stan Strickland For Company’s
“Maybe it’s because Stan is such a commanding presence on horns that people in the industry never bothered to ask him what else he could do,” surmises Levin. When Strickland is booked internationally, it’s mostly to play sax and flute, so he does most of his singing in the Boston area. And Strickland, it turns out, has had a parallel career on the New England stage and even holds a graduate degree in – dance. “Stan’s musical chops, his sense of movement, his acting background, his incredible voice, his soulful presence, they’ve all come together in the last few years to form an incredible singing talent,” says Levin. “I love the way Boston audiences light up when Stan takes the mike. They love his warm voice. He moves, and the people move with him.”
Levin’s preparation for this collaboration goes back to his own teen years, when he was introduced to Manhattan jazz clubs by friend Thelonious Monk, Jr., son of the great jazz pianist. The love of jazz he acquired then, coupled with those years in L.A. working with popular and rock musicians primed him, Levin says, to see major crossover potential in Stan Strickland, the jazz vocalist. Levin sees a parallel between Strickland’s virtuosity as a multi-instrumentalist and his wide range as a vocal artist. “Whatever the lyric or the style of the tune suggests to him, Stan’s voice can express it,” says Levin. “He can be funky or soulful or tender or hard driving, and he’s got the perfect pitch, the swing and the rhythmic punch to make it work. On this album, since it’s the first where people can hear his vocal talent, we’ve presented Stan in a variety of styles, so they can hear all the different sides of this amazing performer.”
The band assembled for Love and Beauty features musicians with Boston connections and major international recording and performance credits. Performers include Brad Hatfield on keyboards, Wes Wirth on bass, Jun Saito on drums, Danny Schwartz on percussion, Jim Bridges on guitar, Jeannie Gagné on background vocals and special guest Tiger Okoshi on trumpet and flugelhorn.
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