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December 2006

Dave Stryker
The Chaser
Mel Bay Records

Dave Stryker’s second release for the Mel Bay label, The Chaser, features organist Jared Gold and drummer Tony Reedus. Harking back to Stryker’s early days with organ legend Jack McDuff, it finds the guitarist in absolute top form. Gold, a fiery and sophisticated young player, is someone Stryker should keep close at hand. A sense of effortless, swinging chemistry permeates the entire session.

There are five Stryker originals, beginning with the minor-blues vehicle “The Great Divide,” which charges out of the gate but then slows down radically for the organ solo. “Brighter Days” ushers in a sunnier mood and bears a passing resemblance to the standard “Beautiful Friendship.” Stryker’s waltz version of “I Wish You Love” entails some effective pedal-point harmony; his ballad adaptation of the old Carpenters hit “Close to You” begins at the bridge. The date proceeds with the quick 4/4 swing of the title track, the more exotic 7/4 of “Katmandu” and the burning, darkly hued “Mode for J.W.” (for the late James Williams, Reedus’ uncle). Stryker’s multi-meter take on “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” elaborate but completely unforced, contrasts wonderfully with the greasy shuffle blues of Harold Vick’s “Our Miss Brooks.”

Originally published in December 2006
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