Dave Stryker Prime
As readers of these pages know, jazz/blues guitarist Dave Stryker is prolific yet this offering, Prime, is his first featuring his working trio – organist Jared Gold and drummer McClenty Hunter, each of whom have issued albums as leaders as well. This represents the classic soul-jazz organ trio with eight new compositions from Stryker and one standard, “I Should Care.” The trio laid down all tracks in the studio on one take with no overdubs in a single day session.
They burst out in burning fashion with the title track, Stryker’s ringing guitar lines set against Gold’s churning B3 and McClenty’s crisp work on the kit. Thrilled to be able to play together after eight months of lockdown, the energy is palpable throughout. The only thing missing is a live audience but the trio plays as if they are in front of one. “Lockdown” is more of a mid-tempo, strutting groove with the guitarist extending his notes, revealing more of the bluesy aspect of his technique.
We get two tunes penned for Stryker’s first boss, the iconic organist Jack McDuff with “Captain Jack” and the closing “Dude’s Lounge,” the former of the rollicking variety while the latter oozes a bluesy, late night vibe before taking on combustible character, in alignment with its title. The balladic “Hope” and “As We Were” come from the acclaimed album of the latter’s name, rendered here in trio format as opposed to the quartet that featured pianist Julian Shore, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade. Brisk tempos resume on “Mac,” penned for the drummer who is prominent with his rim shots and steady groove. Given that this unit has been together for a dozen years, attests to their tight interplay and spirited soloing yet “I Should Care” reveals an immense bit of restraint and proves a feature for Gold, one of today’s foremost at his instrument. “Deep” may be the most revealing cut of all, in terms of the fluid guitar lines, sweeping B3 choruses, and percussive grooves.
Last summer the trio opened for Steely Dan but now plan to tour mostly in popular Northeast jazz venues through April. There are plenty of organ-based bands around but Stryker’s trio is the ‘real deal’ as few others learned at the feet master Jack McDuff.
- Jim Hynes