Dave Stryker: Rides Again & Shades Beyond
Each built around a different celebrated drummer, these follow-ups from guitarist Dave Stryker maintain his partnership with saxophonist Steve Slagle and portray two sides of this many faceted player. Trio Mundo, created to underscore the potent percussive power of Manolo Badrena, definitely Rides Again while Shades Beyond continues Stryker's personal exploration of electric Miles Davis with the inclusion of Bitches Brew drummer Lenny White.
In addition to Stryker's clear precise playing, Shades Beyond gets its feel from electric bassist Terry Burns and David Berkman on Fender Rhodes and organ. They set up a thick rich texture that allow Slagle and Stryker to trade off licks as well as engage in intricate tandem playing. Slagle is also up front with his own compositions, as on the funky opener "Easy Does It" and the bouncy "Two Twenty". Delicately blue guitar chords are warmly colorized by alto clarinet to reach a deep dark "Magenta" until White, on a cooker of a title cut, leads things further out to "Shades Beyond". With his meticulous chordal and solo playing coupled with an expansive feel that melds jazz, funk, blues and rock, Stryker has successfully made the sense of electric Miles his own.
Featuring quintessential Weather Report percussionist Manolo Badrena, the sophomore effort from Trio Mundo blends the islands of Manhattan and Puerto Rico into an upbeat worldly musical pleasure cruise. With a working band's tightness, Badrena and Stryker impress on the latter's self-composed pieces. The two kick out the jams on the fiery "What you Want", Badrena's vocal bringing back the great tongue twisting trabalengua of Mona Rey; duet on nylon strung guitars for the samba-like "Pinareña" and along with Slagle's soprano, journey to the African country of "Cameroun". Slagle continues the musical excursion with a saxily entreating entrée to one of NYC's own consummate nightspots, "Sweet Rhythm", and bassist Andy McKee weighs in with "Dear Maurice", a warm paean to composer Maurice Ravel and the slow groover "Hot Ice". Stryker, as is his wont, is likewise all over the globe. His title piece is a straight forward invite to join the journey while "Africano" is a celebration of the continent's guitar music. Closer "Shanti" gets its Celtic/Indian feel from Stryker's sitar-like guitar, Slagle's flute and Badrena's tablas.
With these two releases, Stryker has once again shown the rare ability to produce unique projects that highlight technical chops while making interesting musical statements.
Shades Beyond : 1. Easy Does It 2. Petals 3. Persimmon 4. Two Twenty 5. Magenta 6. Shades Ahead 7. Apparition 8. Maze
Rides Again : 1. Mundo Rides Again 2. Cameroun 3. Sweet Rhythm 4. Corazon 5. What You Want 6. Guille 7. Pinarena 8. Africano 9. Dream Maurice 10. Hot Ice 11. Shanti
Rides Again : Manolo Badrena (drums, percussion, guitar, vocals,) Dave Stryker (guitar), Andy McKee (bass), and special guest : Steve Slagle (soprano & alto sax, flute)
Shades Beyond : Dave Stryker (guitar), Steve Slagle (alto saxophone), David Berkman (organ, Fender Rhodes), Terry Burns (bass) and Lenny White (drums)
Visit Dave Stryker on the web at www.davestryker.com .
Striking an Authentic Chord