The Stryker/Slagle Band: Live at the Jazz Standard (2005)
The quartet is tight and right in the groove. Bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis, who are playing with Stryker and Slagle for the first time, fit right in. Yes, there were some kinks during rehearsals, but they were all ironed out, and their playing is passionate and adds punch to the rhythm section. The four serve notice right off as they slip into "Mozone," a hot, liquid track where Slagle weaves on the alto, snaking into the upper register, while Lewis invigorates the pulse with his beat. Stryker cools the burn, his guitar speaking loquaciously through the run of notes and chord structures.
There's a slow dissolve into the blues on "Doubleblue" before the piece gets a deeper hue that is splashed primarily by Slagle, with Howard adding secondary colors, the etch getting deeper on the horn. And then comes the classic blues feel as essayed by Stryker, the parameters given wider dimension by Lewis, who uses the cymbals to widen the canvas. The defining moment comes on "I Loves You Porgy." It couldn't be otherwise, as Slagle digs deep into the core of emotion and come up trumps, Lewis uses the brush and the rustle of the cymbals, Howard keeps the tick steady and unobtrusive, and Stryker keeps it deliberate and spare.
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 and soprano saxophones; Ed Howard: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.
Record Label: Zoho Music