The Stryker/ Slagle Band
“Live at the Jazz Standard”
With Ed Howard & Victor Lewis
Zoho Records zm200509
Here’s a fantastic set of music from Steve Slagle and Dave Stryker. All original tunes except “I Loves You Porgy”. Five from Steve and three from Dave. The playing is as you would expect it to be, high energy with lots of risk taking. It seems Dave Stryker gets better all the time. Steve is always on fire when he plays. A real treat to listen to. The interplay between the 2 of them is outstanding and you know it’s for real as it’s a live recording.
I suppose you would have to categorize the music as post bop. Especially intriguing are Steve Slagle’s intricate compositions. I for one would like to hear Dave get away from the John Scofield imitations. He has too much going to bother to play someone else’s licks. When he plays himself, it’s very satisfying.
The first 3 tunes are by Steve, and as much fun as they are, “I Loves You Porgy” is a sensational release. Dave plays an intro that’s as good as it gets. In fact his comping throughout the entire date is admirable. It is nice to hear that these days. Both players take great solos. “The Great Divide”, written by Dave is next and his short solo is a meaningful story. After Steve’s solo they exchange solos and this is the real meat of this recording. These two have played together for a long time and it really shows.
Track 6 is a Slagle tune called “Baba Marta” which you might say has a bit of a calypso feel to it in 6/4 time. This is some solo by Steve. It’s a bit difficult to categorize Steve’s playing which I would say is a good thing. His post bop influences are certainly recognizable but his playing is very personal. That’s unusual to be able to say that today.
The next 2 tunes are by Dave, the bluesy “Muddy Waters” and “The Chaser”. “Muddy” is a lot more than a 12 bar blues however. “The Chaser” is a bit reminiscent of a Coltrane type tune. This is Dave at his swinging best. The angular lines he plays are a treat especially with his explosive twists and turns. I certainly would say the same thing about Dave as I said about Steve. Aside from some Scofield licks here and there, Dave is also a very personal individual. The last tune by Steve Called “Passing Giant” (for Elvin Jones) is another gem by the group. Dave sounding like he’s having fun with the time. Victor Lewis and Ed Howard are fantastic throughout the recording.
This CD by Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle is a 5 star production. (Assuming 5 is the highest). The compositions are great, the interplay, and the solos are all tremendous.
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Review Dave Stryker,Steve Slagle "Live at the Jazz Standard"