Dave Stryker: Messin' with Mister T

Edward Blanco By

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Tenor saxophone legend Stanley Turrentine has been gone for some time now but not forgotten and certainly, not by those he performed with for many years. Guitarist Dave Stryker toured with Turrentine for over a decade and has always intended to pay proper respect to the jazz icon who meant so much to him personally. Messin' with Mister T is Stryker's long-awaited personal tribute to the saxophonist great that draws on three Turrentine compositions, the Marvin Gay title track and rounds out the repertoire with pieces from Michel Legrand, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane among others.

What makes this project so exceptional, is the cast of players the guitarist assembles to realize this homage and making sure that the saxophone emerges as the main instrumental sound of the recording without diminishing the impact of his more than appreciable guitar voice. Stryker begins by calling on his own formidable organ trio group of Jared Gold on the Hammond B3 and McClenty Hunter on the drums with Mayra Casales appearing on percussion on selected tracks and then, makes the bold move of featuring ten of the best and brightest saxophone players of today in guests appearances, one on each track.

how often can one hear so many saxophone greats recording on one album and on this tribute, Stryker has ten of the finest reed men in the jazz world doing their interpretation of Turrentine and just to name a few, among these renowned sax men are Houston Person, Jimmy Heath, Bob Mintzer, Don Braden, Eric Alexander and Chris Potter as well as Steve Slagle with whom the guitarist has collaborated with often.

Stryker's playing technique often reminds one of the Wes Montgomery-style and approach and on this tribute, that seems to come across quite often beginning with his stylish play on the perky Turrentine opener "La Place Street" and carrying forward to Legrand's Pieces of a Dream with the great Mike Lee doing the honors on the saxophone. Saxophonist great Braden takes over on the familiar title-piece with organist Gold and the leader delivering sprite solo spots. Two of Turrentine's most recognizable tunes included here are the "Salt Song" featuring Eric Alexander and of course "Sugar," with Javon Jackson swinging the saxophone on this one.

Other notable highlights on this album include "In A Sentimental Mood," Coltrane's "Impressions" and the finale Turrentine classic "Let It Go," showcasing Tivon Pennicott doing his best impression of the icon on the tenor. Guitarist Dave Stryker's remarkable tribute to one of the best reed men of the jazz world, makes quite a lasting impression on its own. The late Stanley Turrentine would have been more than pleased with the powerhouse saxophone cast that makes Messin' with Mister T such a pleasure to listen to often. Kudos to Stryker, his organ trio and accompanying guest, for this is one well-crafted dynamic homage to a distinguished jazz legend remembered well he

Track Listing: La Place Street; Pieces of Dreams; Don’t Mess with Mister T; In a Sentimental Mood; Impressions; Gibraltar; Salt Song; Sugar; Side Steppin’; Let It Go.

Personnel: Dave Stryker: guitar; Jared Gold: Hammond B3 organ; McLenty Hunter: drums; Mayra Casales: percussion (2, 6-10). Special guests – Houston Person: tenor sax (1); Mike Lee: tenor sax (2); Don Braden: tenor sax (3); Jimmy Heath: tenor sax (4); Chris Potter: tenor sax (5); Bob Mintzer: tenor sax (6); Eric Alexander: tenor sax (7); Javon Jackson: tenor sax (8); Steve Slagle: tenor sax (9); Tivon Pennicott: tenor sax (10).

Title: Messin' with Mister T | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Strikezone Records

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