In preparation for Winter JazzFest this weekend we dropped by the rehearsal last night for Marcus Strickland’s Twi-Life to get a sneak peak of this all-star band featuring Strickland on saxes, the legendary Ku-umba Frank Lacy on trombone, Yuki Hirano holding down the keys, Mark Kelley on bass, Charles Haynes on the drums, and emcee Raydar Ellis on the mic.

Frank Lacy (L), Marcus Strickland (R)

“It seems, so far, that every Twi-Life band will be significantly different than the next because it is my refuge for trying out my wildest ideas,” says Strickland, who continues to push the bar of excellence and innovation with his work. The rehearsal was truly a testament to this generation of musicians with the conversation ranging anywhere from McCoy Tyner’s Trident album — from which they are covering a song — to recordings of Biggie and Diddy and the last time each of them played with Ron Carter. There is a seamless transition between the elements of Black American Music that is effortless for this group of incredibly talented and innovative musicians.

Between them, there is a wealth of experience in bands from the Soultronics to Roy Haynes, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Branford Marsalis, Art Blakey, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and countless others. Check out below for a taste of what they have in store for this weekend’s Winter JazzFest performance:

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Words & Video by Eric Sandler (@ericsandler)

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Winter Jazz Festival 2013

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