The Dave Stryker Trio: Prime – Jazz Guitar Life Review

The Dave Stryker Trio has a smokin’ new album out which you can learn more about below…Jazz Guitar Life also did a podcast with Mr. Stryker talking about his latest release and other fun things which you can hear herebut first

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Whether one uses the word prime as a noun or an adjective, the literal and relative meanings are the same: that of importance, quality and excellence. In this case, Prime – the title of Dave Stryker’s latest release – lives up to its name nicely as the album reflects the above mentioned qualities from all concerned. The players are at their prime; the trio is at its prime as a communicative, cohesive unit and the writing is a prime example of what one should expect from a man who has committed his life to a high standard of Jazz exploration.

Recorded during the pandemic in 2020, the Dave Stryker Trio, their first recorded outing as a true trio, laid down eight original tracks and one standard – “I Should Care” – in a “recorded live, one take, no overdubs” kind of way, harkening back to a much simpler time. Well done all!

Now, if you’re familiar with Dave Stryker you know what to expect. Hard drivin’ tunes like the title track, “Captain Jack” and “Dude’s Lounge” – written for one of his former bosses (Capn’ Jack McDuff) – “Mac” – written for his drummer McClenty Hunter –  and “Lockdown” find Dave and the boys knee-high in finger-snappin’ swing, fiery chops and tasteful musicality. Such playing and writing showcases a tight, experienced group that not only takes care of business but sounds like they are having a blast doing so.

There is also a softer side to Stryker as demonstrated by the tunes “Hope”, “As We Are” and “Deep”. If the first two tunes ring a bell, it’s because those songs appeared on Stryker’s last recording titled As We Are which was recorded and released a year or so after Prime was recorded. If it’s a tad confusing don’t worry about it, just blame the pandemic! What is cool about this timeline though is that we get to hear the genesis of “Hope” and “As We Are” which can then be A/B’d with the As We Are versions to see what – if any – are the differences in approaches. I’ll leave the results up to your individual tastes.

And speaking of taste, Stryker and the band definitely give 110% of their creative juices on all the Prime cuts offered, but it’s the previously mentioned “Dude’s Lounge” where they let loose a little more.  For me, this track features all that is truly great about these individual players and this particular trio as a whole. From the get-go Stryker brings the blues form to life as he reveals a kinship with those who have come before him like Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and George Benson, alongside the memories of his youthful days working with Jack McDuff and Stanley Turrentine. His opening solo blues intro is a workshop onto itself and should be copped by every aspiring Jazz Guitar student out there. Joe Pass would indeed be proud!  Organist Jared Gold and drummer McClenty Hunter also dig down deep into the tradition, while keeping one foot in the present, as they complement Stryker’s forceful lines with a dynamic nod to the great organ trios of the past, which they do throughout all the tunes. If you’re head is not boppin’ or your feet aren’t tapping along as you listen to this tune, better call your doctor 🙂

All joking aside, this trio truly delivers, making Prime one fabulous album that should definitely be in the collection of anyone who enjoys great Jazz in general and great Jazz Guitar specifically. The pandemic put the hurt on a lot of groups and players, but the Dave Stryker Trio turned a negative into a positive and we the listener are all the better for it!

To purchase a copy of Prime, please click here!

Please consider spreading the word about Dave Stryker’s new album as well as Jazz Guitar Life by sharing this review amongst your social media pals and please feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you 🙂

If you would like to support all the work I do on Jazz Guitar Life, please consider buying me a coffee or visiting the Jazz Guitar Life sponsors. Thank you and your patronage is greatly appreciated regardless if you buy me a coffee or not 🙂

About Lyle Robinson 347 Articles
Lyle Robinson is the owner/creator/publisher and editor of Jazz Guitar Life, an online magazine dedicated to the Jazz Guitar and its community of fine players worldwide.

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  1. The Jazz Guitar Life Podcast: Ep13 Featuring Dave Stryker – Jazz Guitar Life

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