Mel Bay Guitars: A Second Look & The Chase
Guitarists Vic Juris and Dave Stryker live across the street from each other in suburban Essex County, New Jersey. They've both also had long associations with top jazz saxophonists; Juris with David Liebman and Stryker with the late Stanley Turrentine. They've chosen different musical paths for their new outings. Juris opts for versatility and variety, while Stryker hones in on the classic organ trio format.
Juris' A Second Look finds him mostly in a trio context, with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Tim Horner. Liebman joins them on three tracks and Kate Baker, Juris' wife, adds wordless vocals on "Table for One . Juris divides his time between electric arch-top and acoustic nylon string guitars. The rapport between Juris and Liebman is marvelous, all the more so in that the saxophonist is very much the sideman, deferring to Juris' lead in mood and tone. The blend of acoustic guitar and soprano sax on a languidly reharmonized "All the Things You Are is captivating. Juris not only writes intriguing tunes, he also ferrets them out: Keith Jarrett's "Shades of Love and Bill Evans' "Very Early , the latter done as an electric solo with under-dubbed acoustic guitar. And don't miss the (electric) trio version of "So In Love , with Juris sensually caressing the undulating melody.
That Stryker's The Chaser is the product of a working band is obvious; it feels as comfortable as a broken-in leather jacket. Stryker, young B3 Hammond organist Jared Gold and veteran drummer Tony Reedus click on all cylinders, creating irresistible grooves in their own take on the classic organ trio sound. Stryker has a smooth, mellifluous tone and sure, soulful swing in his guitar sound, while Gold is adventurous enough to avoid B3 clichés and spin off some adventurous, although still comfortable, lines. Reedus always sounds assured and rhythmically in the pocket, even when navigating such Stryker innovations as "I Didn't Know What Time It Was shifting through 5/4, 3/4 and 4/4, a swiftly waltzing "I Wish You Love and a "Katmandu in infectious 7/4 time. But the best tracks are the most soulful: the backbeat heaven of the down and dirty blues "Our Miss Brooks ; the driving title track and the in-the-pocket tribute to the late pianist James Williams (who made duo albums with Stryker), "Mode for J.W. .
Tracks and Personnel
A Second Look
Tracks: A Second Look; Barney K.; So In Love; All the Things You Are; Shades of Jazz; Very Early; Little Brian; Table for One; Dizzy, Trane and You; Indian Summer.
Personnel: Vic Juris: guitar; Dave Jay Anderson: bass; Tim Horner: drums; Dave Liebman: saxophone; Kate Baker: vocals.
Tracks: The Great Divide; Brighter Days; I Wish You Love; Close to You; The Chaser; Katmandu; Mode J.W.; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Our Miss Brooks.
Personnel: Jared Gold: organ; Tony Reedus: drums; Dave Stryker: guitar.