Dave Stryker – Groove Street (ENG review)

Strikazone Records – Street Date April 9th 2024
Dave Stryker – Groove Street (ENG review)

With the excellent saxophonist Bob Mintzer as a guest, Groove Street is somewhat like a long vessel on which the artist sprinkles a bit of everything that constitutes his art and his stage experiences. In the summer of 2023, the Dave Stryker Trio teamed up with tenor saxophone legend Bob Mintzer to record an album of new music before playing a week at Birdland in New York. Stryker and Mintzer had been friends for many years, and Bob arranged and conducted an album of Dave’s music for the Blue Soul album with the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. Although Bob had been invited by the trio on a few tours, they had never played this music together before entering the studio.
Inevitably, Minzer’s presence makes certain passages sound as he would with Yellowjackets, and we’re not going to complain because it seems to give wings to Dave Stryker, who pushes the composition and arrangements of this album quite far, a perfectly calibrated album that is so enjoyable to listen to that it passes by much too quickly. From Dave’s classic organ shuffle title to Mintzer’s originals: “Overlap” and “Straight Ahead,” Stryker’s burner “Peak,” “Blue Code,” and Gold’s “Soulstice,” the swinging standard “The More I See You,” the groove of Eddie Harris’ classic “Cold Duck Time,” and a tribute to the great Wayne Shorter with a fresh approach to “Infant Eyes” … Stryker and company are definitely exploring new paths on Groove Street.
Indeed, the magic of this album lies in the intermingling of titles with clever arrangements that toss us into diverse and varied sonic landscapes, and even after several listens, we discover heaps of new things, making this album more of a composer’s album than a guitarist’s, given how well thought out, reflected, and perfectly structured the music is, not getting lost in unnecessary chatter. Many albums this year are of very good quality; it’s as if the Covid period has given creators a new strength, new means of expression. Remarkable moments occur when Dave Stryker’s universe is very different from Bob Mintzer’s; the communication between the two artists is a succession of intellectual approaches that translate in both cases into a delivery of magical notes. Bob Minzer declares, “Playing music is a lifelong commitment. There are always new things to consider and develop. Music both exhilarates and humbles me daily, and I intend to continue on this path until my last day on earth.” And indeed, this album gives the impression that neither of the two men is in superlatives; it’s their great culture and intelligence that deeply express themselves on the nine tracks of this album, which become indispensable from the first notes of Groove Street.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, March 10th 2024


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