With the high-energy Changing Times (SteepleChase SCCD 31510; 63:30), Dave Stryker gets in one last end-of-the-millennium reference (the session was recorded in late '99) while also acknowledging the recording's preoccupation with nonstandard time signatures. The pun doesn't really hold up since the band's tight, tasteful playing hardly suggests fin de siecle madness and most of the group's nonstandard time signatures aren't all that nonstandard.
The tunes aren't especially memorable, but the quintet-saxophonist Steve Slagle, bassist Bill Moring, drummer Tim Horner and percussionist Manolo Badrena-plays so confidently it's easy to forget that they aren't smoking through 4/4. Given the interest in meter, a fair number of the tunes do turn out to be stop-start funky numbers, with ballads thrown in for balance. The two-man percussion section crowds the sound a bit, and saxophonist Slagle sounds a little mannered, especially on slower stuff like the cover of John Lennon's "Julia." But Stryker himself sounds great, full of meaty solos and harmonic canniness.