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Friday, June 14, 2019

CD Review: David Stryker - Eight Track III


David Stryker (guitar); Stefon Harris (vibraphone); Jared Gold (organ); McLenty Hunter (drums); Mayra Casales (congas and percussion).
(Review by Hugh C).

David Stryker is an in-demand guitarist and educator based in NYC.  His two previous “Eight Track” releases were in 2013 and 2016.  Stefon Harris reminded Stryker that they needed to complete the Trilogy, an idea he could only say yes to.  The concept of all three albums was to take “classic melodies from the 70s” and “put my own stamp on them through the arrangements and playing”. 

Move on Up (Curtis Mayfield) – Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone (Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong) -   Pretzel Logic (Walter Becker & Donald Fagen) – Too High (Stevie Wonder) are lively and poppy, led by Stryker on guitar with thoughtful assistance from Gold on Hammond-style organ and Harris on vibes.  We’ve Only Just Begun (Roger Nichols & Paul H. Williams) is the classic ballad with soulful contributions from guitar, and vibes.

This Guy’s In Love With You (Burt Bacharach & Hal David) – Everybody Loves the Sunshine (Roy Ayers) – After the Dance (Marvin Gaye & Leon Ware) continue the set with a return to the tempo and feel of the first four tracks.   Joy Inside My Tears (Stevie Wonder) provides the slow dance at the end of the prom.

The playing is crisp with a driving groove set by the powerhouse of Hunter’s drums and Casales’ percussion.  The overall sound is pleasant enough and well delivered – harmless, but not groundbreaking.  The Eight Track concept partly derives from Stryker’s experience as a high school kid driving around with an eight-track in his van.  Perhaps I have trouble with the concept as, despite being born the same year as Stryker, I never felt the need for an eight-track – cassettes, yes; vinyl (in its day), yes.  CDs, yes – although (poetic justice perhaps) my usual player refused to play the review disc and I had to listen to it on my laptop CD/DVD drive.

The accompanying press release suggests the CD should be filed under JAZZ, given that this is effectively a ‘70s tribute, perhaps EASY LISTENING would be more appropriate!
Hugh C
Eight Track III has been released by Strikezone Records (Catalogue No. 8818).

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