March 4, 2024

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CD review: Bob Mintzer, Dave Stryker – Groove Street – 2024: Video, CD cover

Guitarist Dave Stryker’s latest album, Groove Street, is in fact “The Dave Stryker Trio with Bob Mintzer,” a combination that is a sure bet to enhance its merit and heighten its import—a sentiment that is equally true when applied to any album on which the acclaimed tenor saxophonist sits in.

Stryker and Mintzer are longtime friends who somehow never recorded together, although Mintzer furnished the arrangements for Blue Soul, Stryker’s splendid album with Germany’s WDR Big Band. For this date, he has mapped out a pair of handsome original compositions (“Overlap,” “Straight Ahead”) to accompany three by Stryker and one each by Wayne Shorter, Eddie Harris and the trio’s organist, Jared Gold, to chaperon Mack Gordon and Harry Warren’s enduring standard, “The More I See You.”

Stryker, Gold and drummer McClenty Hunter comprise the leader’s working trio, which means everything on offer is not only engaging but seamless as well. This is as coeval as it gets, even as Mintzer teams up to add a collateral voice. Those familiar with Stryker should know what to expect—dancing single-note runs with rare flourishes, always astute and accessible. As for Mintzer, his clean, angular phrases are never less than sharp and meticulous, while his emphatic, broad-shouldered style can be likened to that of Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker and other post-bop masters.

The session’s basic mood is upbeat and breezy, best exemplified by Mintzer’s twin burners, Stryker’s robust “Summit” and hard swinging “Code Blue,” and Harris’ groovy “Cold Duck Time.” Even “The More I See You” is taken at a brisker-than-usual tempo, fitting the ensemble like a proverbial glove. Shorter is represented by the tender “Infant Eyes,” and Gold by the even-tempered and aptly named “Soulstice,” on which he frames one of his several persuasive solos. Hunter doesn’t solo as often, but when he does, he commands everyone’s undivided attention.

Stryker’s trio is splendid on its own, even better when enhanced by Mintzer’s formidable presence—all of which makes Groove Street an agreeable avenue whereon to stroll and linger long enough the sample its captivating sounds and charming ambience.

1. Groove Street
2. Overlap
3. Summit
4. Infant Eyes
5. Soulstice
6. Cold Duck Time
7. Code Blue
8. The More I See You
9. Straight Ahead

Dave Stryker – Guitar,
Bob Mintzer – tenor saxophone,
Jared Gold – organ,
McClenty Hunter – drums
WDR Big Band

Groove Street | Dave Stryker

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