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An Overdue Ovation for Dave Stryker

Lessons from Mister T & Mr. McDuff

On the first Tuesday of May, guitarist Dave Stryker performed, as he does every month or so, in the cozy confines of the Bar Next … Read More "An Overdue Ovation for Dave Stryker"

On the first Tuesday of May, guitarist Dave Stryker performed, as he does every month or so, in the cozy confines of the Bar Next Door, a lounge/café located in the basement of a 19th-century row house on MacDougal Street. Stryker has a long history in that neck of Greenwich Village. Two doors north, at the corner of West 3rd Street, are the former premises of Visiones, an important but long-defunct club where, 28 years ago, Stryker first co-led a band with saxophonist Steve Slagle; that partnership has since thrived through six recordings by the Stryker/Slagle Band, most recently Routes, on the guitarist’s Strikezone imprint. A right turn and short walk along 3rd Street would bring you to the Blue Note, where Stryker gigged with Stanley Turrentine in September of 2000. At the time Stryker had recently returned to touring with the tenor great, following a four-year hiatus that was preceded by a decade of service.

“We played Portland and Vancouver before that week at the Blue Note,” Stryker recalled at the Bar Next Door, before hit time with organ maestro Jared Gold and drummer McClenty Hunter, his working trio. He sat in an empty dining room next to the performance area, where 15 patrons-enough to make the room feel full-were already seated. “On Saturday night Stanley played his ass off. He was great, got a standing ovation. When we got to the gig for the final night-no Stanley. He’d died that afternoon in his hotel room.”

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