DaveStryker: Shades of Miles
Gathering a large ensemble with two saxophonists and two keyboardists, the opening “Topaz” definitely speaks in shades of In a Silent Way, with its slow bass vamp and wash of organ and Fender Rhodes. “Sienna” is a bit more funky, hinting a bit at Jack Johnson. Lynch’s muted trumpet again recalls a certain mood but never disintegrates into a copy of Davis’ solo style. The trumpeter’s wafting chant then introduces us to “Orchid,” a delicate waltz that finds Stryker at his mellow best. “Jade” has a decided Bitches Brew flair to it, with repeated horn riffs backing Stryker’s processed solo, drummer Billy Hart and percussionist Manolo Badrena serving up a complex and tasty undercurrent throughout. No surprise here, “Cobalt” is nothing but the blues, Stryker bending those strings and getting dirty. Finally, Lynch contributes the funky strut that is “Fuchsia,” complete with an electrified horn and a backing line of electric bass and bass clarinet.
Besides Lynch and Stryker, the other main soloists are Billy Drewes and Steve Slagle. The entire ensemble hits a stride throughout that is without reproach. The buzz surrounding the release of Shades of Miles was certainly justified as it is as strong a statement from Stryker as any he has made in the past. Furthermore, its uniqueness will keep it sounding fresh for many more years to come.
Track Listing: Topaz, Sienna, Orchid, Jade, Cobalt, Fuchsia
Personnel: Dave Stryker- guitar; Brian Lynch- trumpet; Steve Slagle- soprano & alto saxophone; Billy Drewes- tenor & soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Marc Copland- Fender Rhodes, Larry Goldings- organ & Fender Rhodes, Terry Burns- electric bass, Billy Hart- drums, Manolo Badrena- percussion
Record Label: SteepleChase Records