Guitarist Dave Stryker had such a good time covering classic '70s pop tunes on Eight Track (Strikezone Records, 2014) that he recorded a second installment. He is once again joined by his regular trio (organist Jared Gold and drummer McClenty Hunter), but with a different guest vibraphonist. That chair is taken by Steve Nelson, best known as a longtime member of bassist/composer Dave Holland's groups. The organ trio approach harks back to Stryker's gig with funky organist Jack McDuff early in his career.
There's a wide range of material covered, some of it a natural fit to the format, some that requires a fairly radical reinterpretationbut the band puts an original stamp on everything. So opener "Harvest For The World" by the Isley Brothers fits the organ groove perfectly, but gets a bit of jazz re-harmonization. Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" sounds so natural you might not notice that it's done in 6/8.
Stryker bends the time frame a little for Prince's 1984 hit "When Doves Fly." He changes the rhythmic feel as well, but it makes a great up-tempo jazz vehicle, eliciting one of his hottest solos in the set. The Temptations' "Can't Get Next To You" is another scorcher, driven along by Hunter's fat back beat.
"Time Of The Season" by The Zombies is rendered as a shuffle swing tune, with both the melody and the original accompaniment fitting into the new groove. Perhaps the biggest transformation is reserved for the closer, Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love." It's faster than the original, and the classic riff is not played, although it is occasionally implied in the accompaniment to the solos. I don't know if the members of Cream would even recognize it, but it swings like mad.
As does the whole album. Far from sounding like a novelty, the whole set is a grooving good time, for players and listeners alike. Who's up for volume three?
Harvest For The World; What's GOing On; Trouble Man; Midnight Cowboy; When Doves Cry; Send One Your Love; I Can't Get Next To You; Time Of The Season; Signed Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours; One Hundred Ways; Sunshine Of Your Love.
Dave Stryker: guitar; Steve Nelson: vibraphone; Jared Gold: organ; McClenty Hunter: drums.
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