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The Stryker/Slagle band: The Scene

Elliott Simon By

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Consummate professionals, guitarist Dave Stryker and saxophonist Steve Slagle continue to raise the bar of instrumental interplay with The Scene. This pair eschews gimmickry for chops and produces some of the best post-bop anywhere. Joe Lovano, himself one of the busiest and best tenor saxophonists around, joins them again, as he did on their previous release, Latest Outlook (Zoho, 2007).

Along with this powerful frontline, a rhythm section of bassist Jay Anderson and Victor Lewis on drums and the music's compositional strength turns what would otherwise be a good collaboration into a great one. Take, for example, the opening "Skee"—dedicated to the late bassist Dennis Irwin—on which Lovano and Slagle blend beautifully against a hypnotic rhythm, or Slagle's tribute to his late brother, "Hopewell's Last," a gorgeous soprano (Slagle)/tenor (Lovano) showcase.

The aptly titled "Kindred Spirits" finds Stryker breaking out his acoustic to dovetail with Slagle's alto and Lewis' superb cymbal work, while Roland Kirk's "Fingers In The Wind" pairs an understated acoustic guitar with flute for an arrestingly melodic interlude. "Strikology," with bop chops emerging fore and aft, closes out another strong effort from the Stryker/Slagle Band.

Track Listing: Skee; The Scene; Six Four Teo; Two Sense; Kindred Spirits; Hopewell's Last; Brighter Days; Fingers In The Wind; Strikology.

Personnel: Dave Stryker: guitar; Steve Slagle: alto and soprano sax, flute; Jay Anderson: bass; Victor Lewis: drums; Joe Lovano: tenor sax (1, 3, 6, 7).

Title: The Scene | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Zoho Music

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