He considers his father an early inspiration as he had been a drummer in jazz and rhythm and blues, but at present he works as a lawyer. Marcus's identical twin brother E. J. Strickland became a drummer, like their father, and is currently a member of Marcus's quartet. Marcus has worked with Tom Harrell, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Haynes, Jeff "Tain" Watts. He is perhaps best known, however, for his quartet.
Marcus Strickland, who was named 'Rising Star, Soprano Saxophone' in Downbeat Magazine's Critic's Poll '08 and 'Best New Artist' in JazzTimes Magazine's Reader's Poll '06; has two releases on Fresh Sound New Talent Records as a leader ("At Last" and "Brotherhood"); and currently plays with Dave Douglas, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and Will Calhoun. Strickland also recently ended a five-year stint with legendary drummer Roy Haynes.
The aspiring saxophonist has been on two Grammy-nominated recordings ("Fountain of Youth" - Roy Haynes & "Keystone" - Dave Douglas). His own record label, Strick Muzik, was launched in 2006 with an adventurous double CD project featuring two bands of his, and appropriately titled with a play on words "Twi-Life".
In 2007, the highly acclaimed Twi-Life Group released a live album entitled "Open Reel Deck" off Strick Muzik. The album features Lage Lund on guitar, Carlos Henderson on electric bass and E.J. Strickland on drums as well as trumpeter Keyon Harrold, the hip-hop-tinged poetry of Malachi, and one track with pianist Jon Cowherd. Throughout the electrically charged atmosphere of "Open Reel Deck" the Twi-Life Group displays the curious side of Marcus' compositional skills through funk, hip-hop, afro-beat, rock, ska and jungle grooves, while also showcasing the versatility of his twin brother E.J. on the drums.
Strickland has gained professional & artistic integrity through experiences with Roy Haynes, Mos Def, Dave Douglas, Nicholas Payton, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Christian McBride, Charles Tolliver Big Band, Tom Harrell, Will Calhoun, Lonnie Plaxico, The Carnegie Hall Big Band, The Mingus Band, the Village Vanguard Band, Milt Jackson Big Band, and The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, just to name a few.