The Dave Stryker Trio, Groove Street Review
Jazz Journeys on Groove Street: The Dave Stryker Trio Meets Bob Mintzer
By Nolan DeBuke
Groove Street, released on January 1, 2024, by The Dave Stryker Trio, is another outstanding project by the soulful guitarist. Comprising Dave Stryker on guitar, Jared Gold on organ, and McClenty Hunter on drums, the trio’s synergistic chemistry is further enriched by their collaboration with tenor saxophone legend Bob Mintzer. Recorded at Trading 8s Studio in Paramus, NJ, and produced by Dave Stryker himself, this album is nine tracks that show jazz’s power of communication, featuring first-class players delving into musical themes with remarkable cohesiveness and skill.
The opening track, “Groove Street,” immediately sets the tone for the album. It is a Stryker original that encapsulates the essence of soulful organ groove with a swinging shuffle feel. The interplay between Stryker’s guitar and Mintzer’s tenor saxophone is more than just harmonious – it’s a conversation of sorts, embodying the spirit of jazz improvisation. Stryker’s guitar solo is a blend of technical elegance and emotional depth, while Mintzer’s tenor sound is both enveloping and engaging, keeping the soul jazz spirit alive.
“Overlap,” a Mintzer composition, showcases a dynamic chordal pattern leading to a riff-based melody. This track demonstrates Mintzer’s storytelling solo ability through his saxophone, starting gently and building to a fiery climax. Stryker’s improvisation on this track is noteworthy for its fluidity and interaction with Gold on the organ and Hunter on the drums.
“Summit,” another Stryker original, continues the modern jazz journey. It underscores Stryker’s dual talents as both a composer and performer. His solo is precise in navigating the changes with elegance, supported beautifully by Gold’s organ playing, which converses and complements Stryker’s lines. Mintzer’s energetic interaction with the rhythm section is palpable, creating an unmistakable chemistry.
The rendition of Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” is a standout track. It’s a tribute that manages to be both respectful to the original and inventive in its approach. Stryker’s interpretation is soulful, blending hard bop and modern jazz elements.
Jared Gold’s composition “Soulstice” is a journey through intricate melodies and rhythmic interplay. Gold’s organ solo is particularly captivating, marked by intervallic development and an acute sense of timing. Here, Stryker’s guitar work melds soul jazz with more contemporary jazz elements, while Mintzer’s saxophone adds harmonic richness.
Eddie Harris’ “Cold Duck Time” and Harry Warren’s “The More I See You” both allow Stryker to demonstrate his versatile guitar skills, oscillating between soulful melodicism and fiery passages. These tracks reaffirm why Stryker is consistently recognized as one of today’s leading jazz guitarists.
Finally, “Straight Ahead,” another Mintzer creation, is a perfect vehicle for the quartet to showcase their collective synergy. The medium upswing feel of the track allows each member to shine, with Stryker’s blues-inflected guitar work and Hunter’s dynamic drumming being particularly notable.
Overall, Groove Street presents a compelling collection of music that showcases the ensemble’s extraordinary ability to communicate, connect, and captivate its audience. The Dave Stryker Trio, in collaboration with Bob Mintzer, has crafted a work that deeply resonates with the soul of jazz. Overflowing with creativity, soulfulness, and technical mastery, this album is a valuable addition to the collections of those who cherish the art of musical storytelling as Groove Street, a rich, auditory journey through the landscapes of contemporary jazz.