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Stryker Slagle Band: Keeper (2010)

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Stryker Slagle Band: Keeper How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Guitarist Dave Stryker
Dave Stryker
Dave Stryker
b.1957
guitar
is one of the most prolific talents in jazz, with almost two dozen releases as a leader, and stints with artists including Stanley Turrentine
Stanley Turrentine
Stanley Turrentine
1934 - 2000
sax, tenor
and Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
1926 - 2001
organ, Hammond B3
. His unique style has garnered him a number of prestigious awards. No less productive is Stryker's long-time co-leader, saxophonist Steve Slagle
Steve Slagle
Steve Slagle
b.1951
sax, alto
, who has led his own bands for twenty years and played with a highly impressive roster including Carla Bley
Carla Bley
Carla Bley
b.1938
piano
, Steve Kuhn
Steve Kuhn
Steve Kuhn
b.1938
piano
and Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
. Having worked together for the past decade, The Stryker/Slagle Band incorporates collective experience and talent in Keeper, a fine and diverse collection of originals.

Stryker's title track opens the set with a brisk, R&B feel and an infectious hook. Slagle's fluid work is complimented by Stryker's structured but free-flowing guitar—typically hovering closer to the lower register—while drummer Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Ruby My Dear," giving it a soulful reading that showcases Slagle's liquid textures and Stryker's complimentary mix of chord melodies and crystalline notes.

Virtuoso bassist Jay Anderson
Jay Anderson
Jay Anderson
b.1955
bass, acoustic
, another long-time collaborator, comes front and center as he anchors "Bryce's Peace," a poignant acknowledgment of Stryker's late father, whose artwork decorates the CD's cover. The slow tempo ballad segues nicely into "Blue State," which is, appropriately, the most blues flavored track on Keeper and a fine platform for Slagle's soulful alto and Stryker's somewhat gospel-influenced playing, reminiscent of Otis Rush
Otis Rush
Otis Rush
b.1934
guitar, electric
. Slagle then switches to soprano for the first time on "Gold Dust," an appealing composition that also features Stryker on nylon string guitar. Both offer deceptively complex solos, disguised by the piece's overall tranquil atmosphere.

Keeper closes with Slagle's Latin-influenced "Good 4 U," adding yet another stylistic dimension to the collection and allowing Slagle to reach back to his earlier work with Machito
Machito
Machito
1908 - 1984
band/orchestra
and Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
1929 - 2006
congas
. The piece also provides a solo opportunity for Lewis, who gets to show his innovative and rhythmic style at various points throughout the song.

Keeper is the fifth collection from The Stryker/Slagle Band; a multi-talented group that is not only resilient, but shows, with each successive release, that it is not content to rest on its creative laurels. Stryker and Slagle continue to grow musically—both independently and as collaborators—and have a knack for surrounding themselves with world-class rhythm sections that play to their strengths while contributing to the group's overall energy.

Track Listing: Keeper; Bailout; Ruby My Dear; Came To Believe; Bryce's Peace; Blue State; Sister; Gold Dust; Convergence; Good 4 U.

Personnel: Dave Stryker:guitar; Steve Slagle: alto and soprano sax; Jay Anderson: bass; Victor Lewis; drums.

Record Label: Panorama Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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