The Stryker/Slagle Band: Live at the Jazz Standard (2005)
Guitarist Dave Stryker has the superhuman ability to be everywhere at once. In peering back at my recent reviews involving the artist, I find his fine recordings with Trio Mundo, Carnival and Rides Again, and the trio outing Exit 13 with drummer Sylvia Cuenca. But one of the most notable was Stryker's Zoho release with friend and multireedist Steve Slagle, The Stryker/Slagle Band . Stryker and Slagle's association is the kinetic definition of simpatico, because the pair's new recording, Live at the Jazz Standard is a very fine disc indeed, betraying an empathic relationship between the principals and offering an asthetically pleasing recording.
The first appealing thing about this recording is the fact that the rhythm section is guitar-led, rather than piano-led. Dave Stryker, while a significant soloist, is a superb accompanist, which he illustrates on every cut of the recording. Another cool thing about the recording is that it is composed of all new originals, except one track, "I Love's You Porgy," which is given an appealingly inventive sideways interpretation.
Specifically impressive on this disc is Dave Stryker's introduction to "Muddy Waters, which is all blues. He gets as close to the rural base as any jazz artist can. Following his introduction, the entire band brings everything up to date in a 21st Century manner. Jazz is epistemological, building on itself, evolving, and transforming. It is our charge as the listener to note this and flow with it.
But "Muddy Waters" is merely a taste of the fine repertoire offered on this live recording. "Doubleblue" is a 24-bar affair that incorporates both traditional and avant-garde elements in both the guitar and saxophone sections of the piece. Offbeat pieces like "Mozone" and "The Great Divide" show the future of listenable, accessible jazz.
Track Listing: Mozone; Boogaloo 7; Doubleblue; I Love's You Porgy; The Great Divide; Baba Marta; Muddy Waters; The Chaser; Passing Giant.
Personnel: Dave Stryker--guitar; Steve Slagle--alto & soprano saxes; Ed Howard--bass; Victor Lewis--Drums.