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Dave Stryker: Strykin’ Ahead

Roger Farbey By

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Hot on the heels of his 2016 release, the soul and rock infused Eight Track II comes Dave Stryker's punningly titled Strykin' Ahead with a mix of standards and Stryker originals. Following the lively opener, "Shadowboxing," a Stryker original, comes a rather more sedate version of Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" followed by Stryker's "New You" in which both Steve Nelson and Jared Gold provide imaginative, swinging solos backed by McClenty Hunter's solid drumming. A dreamy interpretation of Billy Strayhorns "Passion Flower" is given a subtle bossa nova beat by Hunter.

"Strykin' Ahead" is a helter skelter affair where Stryker shows his mettle with a flurry of fast and fluid notes breaking out immediately after the head. To some extent Stryker sounds not unlike the late Johnny Smith in his considered and articulate style, which is no bad thing, but Stryker has his own unique voice too. Another Stryker original is the slow "Blues Down Deep" where the guitarist wrings out restrained emotion from his guitar. Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" is a perfect example of just how well the organ, vibes and guitar gel together propelled by highly effective yet unobtrusive drums.

"Who Can I Turn To" by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley is afforded a delicate and respectful interpretation but Charlie Parker's (or Miles Davis's, depending on who you read) "Donna Lee" is a lively version with the guitar and vibes playing the famous boppy melody in unison, no easy task but it's executed with aplomb. Stryker's playing is characterised by warmth and articulacy and those traits extend to the whole of this very well-produced album.

Track Listing: Shadowboxing; Footprints; New You; Passion Flower ; Strykin' Ahead; Blues Down Deep; Joy Spring; Who Can I Turn To; Donna Lee.

Personnel: Dave Stryker: guitar; Steve Nelson: vibraphone; Jared Gold: organ; McClenty Hunter: drums.

Title: Strykin’ Ahead | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Strikezone

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