Opening Night at the Gallery
Dave Stryker Quartet
with guest Bob Mintzer
Paul Mahder Gallery
222 Healdsburg Ave.
Friday, June 2 – 7 and 9 p.m. $30
Opening night of the nineteenth edition of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival deserves a show guaranteed to make your ears tingle and your body shake, and Dave Stryker is the man to ensure the musical magic. The celebrated guitarist, a virtuoso stylist of world class standing, has two loves that he wants to share with the world: jazz, of course, and his other great passion, the pop, rock and funk music of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.
On his new album, “Eight Track II”–the sequel to his acclaimed “Eight Track” of 2014 – Stryker applies his remarkable technique and groove-friendly vibe to such classics as “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Time of the Season,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “What’s Going On” and “When Doves Cry,” brilliantly reimagining the melodic and rhythmic majesty of the originals through a genuine jazz sensibility. The results are a captivating blend of instrumental smarts and pop accessibility.
Rest assured, there’s nothing watered down about Stryker’s approach. His extraordinary fretwork, as well as the first-rate contributions of his bandmates including Steve Nelson on vibes, Jared Gold on organ, and MacClenny Hunter on drums (all will be on board for this performance, Stryker’s first in Healdsburg) is always in sight.
As Styker says, “I’m happy about the way I was able to take some of these great melodies a lot of us grew up with, and find a way into them to make them work in a jazz context. I wanted to be able to play over these tunes and get creative and improvise, like we would on any standard.”
To up the ante even further, Stryker will invite a very special guest to join the band at the festival: the saxophone titan Bob Mintzer, a longtime member of the popular Yellowjackets, and now the chief conductor of the prestigious European WDR Big Band.
Stryker’s credentials are fully in place. In the early Eighties, he worked with the Hammond B3 organ master, Jack McDuff, filling a guitar spot that had previously been held by such six-string giants as Grant Green, Pat Martino and George Benson. A nearly ten-year association with another exemplar of jazz funk, the tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, followed.
And as 26 albums as a leader have long since proved, Styker is his own man with a distinctive vision and the super chops to bring it to life. Make no mistake, at this performance the funk will assuredly fly: if you need to get up and groove, be our guest.