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July/August 2003

Dave Stryker
Blue to the Bone III
SteepleChase

Dave Stryker's Blue to the Bone Band, ongoing since '96, features the guitarist with three other rhythm players and four horns. Established to showcase his blues side, it covers the jazzier realm of the blues as opposed to primitive, gutbucket territory. The horn section (alto saxophonist Steve Slagle, baritone saxophonist and chief arranger Bob Parsons, trumpeter Brian Lynch, and trombonist Clark Gayton) functions as an extension of Stryker's guitar sound, and the rhythm section (pianist James Williams, bassist Anderson and drummer Tim Horner) keeps the blues feeling true underneath.

Stryker's "For Jack and T" salutes the late organist Jack McDuff and tenorman Stanley Turrentine, two of the guitarist's former employers. "Doin' the Bone" is a short, funky cut with Tower of Power-style horns. Slagle arranged Charles Mingus' "So Long, Eric," and Williams and Parsons arranged the pianist's "Soulful Mr. Timmons," in which the composer takes a stomping, most satisfying solo. There are solid solos from all hands throughout the album, with the lesser-known Gayton taking honors here and there with his triphammer tonguing. Based on the personnel and the feeling of these performances, I'd like to catch this group live.

Originally published in July/August 2003
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