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Dave Stryker: Eight Track III

Mark Sullivan By

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Guitarist Dave Stryker says this is the last of his trilogy of classic pop melodies from the 1970s. If so, its release is a little bittersweet: because like the other two it is a truly fun project, for the players and listeners alike. Completing the trilogy was suggested by vibraphonist Stefon Harris, who had appeared on the first installment, Eight Track (Strikezone Records, 2013). Vibraphonist Steve Nelson took over for Eight Track II (Strikezone Records, 2016).

As on the previous installments the repertoire is a mixed bag—as was commercial radio during this era. All of these tunes could have shared air space at the same time. Soul music gets the lion's share, beginning with Curtis Mayfield's "Move On Up," going through The Temptation's "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone," Stevie Wonder's "Too High" and "Joy Inside My Tears," Marvin Gaye's "After The Dance." "Papa" is an especially good blowing vehicle, with its steady drum rhythm and anthemic bass line.

The softer side is represented by The Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun" (the arrangement includes a nice hand-off from guitar to vibes for the bridge) and Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's In Love With You." Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" sounds just as alien here as it did then, but it's a hooky bit of pop/funk with some surprisingly sophisticated chord changes—typical for a Steely Dan song—that provide all three soloists with an inspiring backdrop. And Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves The Sunshine" features Harris' vibes (even though vibraphonist Ayers played no vibes on the original).

Jazz is rarely as light-hearted and fun as this. Style points for the leopard-skin disco platform shoes with goldfish in the heels on the cover photos.

Track Listing: Move On Up; Papa Was A Rollin' Stone; Pretzel Logic; Too High; We've Only Just Begun; This Guy's In Love With You; Everybody Loves The Sunshine; After The Dance; Joy Inside My Tears.

Personnel: Dave Stryker: guitar; Stefon Harris: vibraphone; Jared Gold: organ; McClenty Hunter: drums; Mayra Casales: congas & percussion (2, 3, 6-9).

Title: Eight Track III | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Strikezone Records

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