Friday, April 17, 2015

Dave Stryker - Messin’ With Mr. T (Strikezone, 2015)

Popular jazz guitarist Dave Stryker develops a tribute album to tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, whom he worked with as a sideman for many years. He shares the wealth, inviting a different saxophonist to sit in on each tune. The core band is Stryker with Jared Gold on organ, McClenty Hunter on drums and Mayra Casales on percussion. Houston Person is the featured saxophonist on “La Place Street” where the band develops a swinging tempo, making for a happy and relaxed sensibility. Person builds his solo gradually to a nice statement and leaves room for guitar and organ features. “Don’t Mess With Mister T.” with saxophonist Don Braden is the spiritual heart of the album, developing a fine bluesy grind supported by thick organ and a heavy beat. There are also fine organ and guitar solos, backed by Hunter’s unshakeable beat. Jimmy Heath provides a sultry saxophone feel on the Duke Ellington ballad “In A Sentimental Mood” while Chris Potter ramps up the tempo for a burning version of John Coltrane’s “Impressions.” The band set a rapid tone to launch Potter into a wonderfully unencumbered and expressive solo. Organ bubbles underneath with some fine drumming and a deft return to the familiar Coltrane melody. There’s the sense of a late night jam session as Stryker spars jovially with saxophonist Eric Alexander. They swing gently before some strong drumming allows the band to develop a little heat toward the end. Jason Jackson provides the saxophone on one of Turrentine’s most well known tunes, “Sugar.” They patiently develop the tune with a mellow and full medium tempo. Jackson’s solo is well controlled and respectful, while the band closes with a pleasantly melodic sensibility. This is a solid mainstream jazz record. Allowing several different saxophones to examine a wide range of tunes from blues to standards provides different approaches to the music. Messin' With Mr. T -

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