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Bebop Spoken There

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13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Album Review: Dave Stryker with Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band - Blue Soul

Guitarist Dave Stryker joined fellow American Bob Mintzer to play a varied selection of charts alongide Germany's world class WDR Big Band. The result - Blue Soul - is an enjoyable groove-laden take on familiar jazz/pop/soul standards with three Styrker originals and a Mintzer composition making the final cut of nine tracks. 

Stryker has released more than two dozen albums of his own and worked as sideman on countless others. Influences are brought to bear on this Strikezone Records CD. To begin at the end, the closing track, Stan's Shuffle, was written by his old boss of ten years or more, Stanley Turrentine. The midway point (track five), Stryker's own Blues Strut, features the man himself, Mintzer's tenor sax and Billy Test on organ. The latter recalls Stryker's earlier work with Jack McDuff. 

Three paragraphs in and scarcely a mention of the WDR. That's because it should be taken for granted that if the mighty German outfit is on a recording session it has to be good, and it is. Mintzer is the orchestra's principal conductor. Arranging charts for the WDR must be a challenge and a pleasure in equal measure with no such thing as a weak link in this band, soloists coming from every section (Karolina Starssmeyer, alto sax, Andy Hunter, trombone to name but two), the guest soloist laying down a blues groove, it all adds up to a polished 'big band with soloist' (ad)venture. 

From Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man and What's Going On? to Prince's When Doves Cry to Jimmy Webb's Wichita Lineman, the WDR under the direction of Mintzer make Blues Soul an 'easy' listen, 'easy' in the best sense of the word, the kind of album where you anticipate a twist, a turn, a solo, and, right on cue, it delivers. 
Russell

Blues Soul by Dave Stryker with Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band is available on Strikezone Records (8820).    

Dave Stryker (guitar); Bob Mintzer (conductor, arranger, tenor sax tracks 2, 5, 9); Wim Both Rob Bruynen, Andy Haderer, Ruud Breuls (trumpets); Ludwig Nuss, Raphael Klemm, Andy Hunter (trombones); Mattis Cederberg (bass trombone); Johan Hörlén, Karolina Srassmayer (alto sax); Olivier Peters, Paul Heller (tenor sax); Jens Neufang (baritone sax); Billy Test (piano, organ); John Goldsby (bass); Hans Dekker (drums) 

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