Blue to the Bone IV – Dave Stryker

Blue to the Bone IV – Dave Stryker


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1. Blues Strut (Dave Stryker) 8:31
2. Workin’ (Dave Stryker) 8:31
3. For the Love of You (Isley Bros) 5:23
4. Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson) 5:41
5. Big Foot (Dave Stryker) 7:39
6. Blue’s For Brother Jack (Dave Stryker) 7:18
7. Shades Ahead (Dave Stryker) 7:59
8. Fun (Nat Adderley) 7:08
9. Soul Power (James Brown) 3:17

Dave Stryker – guitar
Freddie Hendrix – trumpet
Steve Slagle – alto sax
Vincent Gardner – trombone
Gary Smulyan – bari sax
Jared Gold – Hammond B3 organ
McClenty Hunter – drums

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5.00 out of 5

1 review for Blue to the Bone IV – Dave Stryker

  1. Rating by Dave Stryker – Blues | California Be+Bop on June 21, 2014 :

    […] Here is a transcription of Dave Stryker’s blues titled Blue Strut. […]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Dave Stryker on February 19, 2013 :

    I hate to call Dave Stryker an “under-recognized”
    I can say that this particular album might
    escape the attention it deserves. True, it’s
    brightly polished and perfectly pitched, and
    for sheer, unadulterated, high-toned fun, you
    won’t find a current jazz recording to top
    it. But even though it remains among my
    favorites of 2012, a lot of jazz recordings
    show up every year, and the demise of jazz
    radio makes it hard for listeners to stay on
    top of them all. So yes, Blue To The Bone IV
    may fly under the radar for too many listeners.
    But I have this problem slapping that
    “under-recognized” label on Stryker
    himself. It always carries a whiff of whiny
    defensiveness – and nothing about Stryker’s
    virile, swaggery music suggests that sort of
    excuse-making. And then there’s the matter
    of his discography: most artists “deserving
    wider recognition” don’t have 24 albums
    out under their own name.
    Yet despite his large and loyal following
    – for his own projects as well as for the
    longstanding quartet he co-leads with alto
    man Steve Slagle – and despite the highly
    regarded instructional method that has made
    him a well-known presence among guitarists-in-
    training, the fact remains: Dave Stryker
    still doesn’t get all the attention he actually
    deserves. He’s just that good.
    Stryker has a boatload of speedy technique,
    as you might expect. But rather than make
    that an end unto itself, he employs it in the
    service of solos that already bristle with
    narrative strength, and a cogency born of
    wisdom and experience – of knowing what
    to leave out as well as what to include. His
    improvisations would rise above the pack
    even if he owned only half the chops he
    displays. When he proceeds to infuse these
    improvisations with heat, light, and the
    various other forms of radiant energy made
    possible by his sterling technique – well, that
    hardly seems fair.
    And then there’s the whole matter of the
    blues. Stryker has always revealed a strong
    shade of blue in his music; it helped make
    him an invaluable member of organist Jack
    McDuff’s band in the mid-80s and, after that,
    of saxist Stanley Turrentine’s groups well into
    the 90s. “I think with all the gigs I’ve done,
    I have my own thing to say right now. I’m
    not ‘just’ a blues player. And I’m certainly no
    Albert King or anything like that,” he says,
    referencing one of the accepted blues-guitar
    gods. “But the blues – that’s deep down in
    there. I’m a jazz player, but the blues was
    part of my DNA even before I moved to
    New York,” in 1980. (This is not a comment
    often heard from a musician who grew up
    in the white-bread-and-mayo environs of
    Omaha, Nebraska.)
    As you can guess from the title, Stryker has
    found a semi-regular showcase for this facet
    of his music. Blue To The Bone IV follows
    three previous chapters in a series that began
    in 1996, marked by the presence of kick-ass
    horn sections, Hammond B-3 organ, and
    tight arrangements arrangements that fulfill
    Stryker’s original desire – to hybridize the
    sound of the Jazz Messengers with the horn
    sections used by B.B. King. But those first Blue
    To The Bone albums came in a comparable
    rush — three discs in a span of six years — and
    IV comes after a gap of more than a decade.
    So why the delay?
    “Well, this has always been a project dear
    to my heart, in that I love the chance to have
    that horn section kicking in behind me.
    There’s nothing like it. But it being a special
    project, I only get to do it when certain
    concert opportunities come up, or at festivals
    that can afford to bring in a group this size. I
    kept writing some arrangements [over the last
    ten years], but the band just got put on hold.
    And also, I’ve been concentrating more on
    the two other groups I lead – my organ trio
    with Jared Gold, and my thing with Slagle.
    “What’s really cool about this album,” he
    continues, “is that it combines my regular
    organ trio with the horns. It’s the best of
    both worlds.”
    That assessment could as easily apply to
    the way Stryker blends the spheres of jazz
    and blues. The evidence hits you in the face
    15 minutes into the album: by then, you’ve
    heard his electric deep-dish twang at his
    down-and-dirtiest (Blues Strut), as well his
    ability to fold this the blues into a pure jazz
    solo of enormous vitality and impact and
    filled with note-y conviviality (Workin’). The
    guitarist wrote both compositions, and they
    also illustrate the range his music traverses
    on this disc.
    If Stryker enjoys the experience of “having
    that horn section kick in,” I can only imagine
    the experience of having this horn section
    kick in. Freddie Hendrix dazzles on trumpet,
    with searing high notes and splashy solos;
    still in his early 30s, he has distinguished
    himself in the Count Basie Orchestra as well
    as bands led by Christian McBride, Oliver
    Lake, and George Benson. SteepleChase
    Records veteran Vincent Gardner (he appears
    on eight previous albums, five under his own
    name) realizes the trombone’s full power
    and glory in the ensembles as well as in
    his solo turns. And saxist Slagle, Stryker’s
    musical soulmate for the better part of three
    decades, pours unvarnished soul into his
    buff, streetwise tone.
    The “Big Foot” in another Stryker tune is
    the enormous sound of baritone saxist Gary
    Smulyan, the modern dean of that instrument,
    who has replaced Bob Parsons in the horn
    section. “I figure if you have to go out to g
    says. “But Bob’s imprint is still on the records,
    and he still does some of the arranging”;
    in fact, he had a hand in shaping four of
    the tunes on this album. As for the rhythm
    section (a.k.a. the Stryker Organ Trio), savvy
    listeners know Jared Gold as one of the most
    energetic and captivating B-3 players on the
    scene today; and young McClenty Hunter
    admirably fills the sizable shoes of the late
    Tony Reedus, the trio’s original drummer.
    All together, they kick this album into a
    higher gear from the first note. But the music’s
    heart remains the jazz-and-blues, bourbon-and-
    beer blend of Dave Stryker’s sound and
    soul. If you’ve heard it even once before,
    you’ll recognize it immediately.
    Neil Tesser

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