E.J. Strickland is an artist with a clear and sensible vision: that a drummer-led jazz record should give listeners an opportunity to get their groove on. The all-original program on his The Undying Spirit isn’t infused with long, indulgent percussion solos — snuff out any recollection you have about drumming from the movie Whiplash — because Strickland has gratifying knack for hip melodies and a soulful strut that clicks frequently on this highly listenable album. Continue reading