The title to guitarist Dave Stryker's Eight Track CD is not only a reference to the age of the standards collected therein but also the style in which they're rendered. Stryker favors updating what once was, in the 70s, a genre within itself: jazz stylings of rock classics, a transition which consciously strayed not too far from cognizeable melodics, avoiding the excesses of Ornette Coleman territories and such. This resulted in both arresting (think George Benson) and pathetic (and I'll for the moment spare the guilty) results. Ironically, it was the fluffier examples (okay, okay: Shuggie Otis, etc.) which not too long ago saw a revivalist interest in antiquarian aesthetic delectations. Fortunately, Stryker's a serious cat, and Eight Track is indeed revivalist but in the best and most honest, as well as highly respectful, historic sense.
I'll suggest the rendition of Roger Water's / Pink Floyd's Money as the track to first inspect, as it retains both the original's darkness and concurrent satirical bouncy provocateuring. In it, we clearly see how Stryker & Co. (Stefon Harris on vibes, Jared Gold, on organ, and McClenty Hunter manning the drums, and these cats blend very well) cleave tightly to the chart's refrains before jumping off into improv wrapping around linear progressions well within extended melodics, especially the guitarist's lines. And it's precisely Stryker's chosen main style of single-note elegance that once got me so apeshit about Benson's old slabs back in my college days.
The choice of vibes and organ couldn't have been more perfect, and I'm oft reminded here of John Abercrombie's ECM work with organ, even to the degree of that somewhat damped-down pitch both Dave and John favor and which melds so well with the electronic keyboard, ratcheting up the atmospherics. Earth, Wind, and Fire's That's The Way Of The World follows, and it's just as evening-delicious, mellifluously wandering about the landscape as day cools down into night, distant lights coming up, the lightly groovin' narrative inducing listeners to barefoot around the parlor, someone, probably the guitarist, be-bop scatting almost imperceptibly in the background arbor. If you want a more energetic slice, though, go back to I'll be Around, but much of this disc is slower paced, easy, laid back, medicine, not agitant. Oh, and note the visual satire of the old Polydor logo on the 8-track cassette depicted on the cover. Clever.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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