“I have followed Dave Stryker’s playing since his early days in Omaha through his long stay with Stanley Turrentine and his longstanding relationship with the great alto player Steve Slagle (another undersung heavy out there) and he just gets better and better with one of the most joyous feels around.” – Pat Metheny
Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker fronting his own group (with 25 CD’s as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why Gary Giddins in the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.” He was recently voted once again one of the Top Guitarists in the 2014 Downbeat Critics and Readers polls for the 7th time. His most recent CD “Eight Track” was also picked as one of the Top Albums of 2014 in the Downbeat Readers Poll.
Dave Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to New York City in 1980. After establishing himself in the local music scene, he joined organist Jack McDuff’s group for two years 1984-85. When McDuff wasn’t on the road (literally traveling by van all over the country) they worked a steady four-night a week gig at Dude’s Lounge in Harlem. His first break, this turned out to be an invaluable experience, paying his dues night after night with the soulful jazz organist. It was at Dude’s Lounge that Stryker met tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who would occasionally sit in. After leaving McDuff, Turrentine asked Stryker to join his quintet. From 1986-1995 he played with the legendary saxophonist at all the major festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the world. He is featured on two Turrentine CD’s (Stanley recorded Stryker’s tune “Sidesteppin”). With Turrentine, Stryker was able to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. The ten years playing alongside the tenor legend helped Stryker realize the importance of having his own sound. Dave continued to work with Stanley and was with him during his final week at the Blue Note in NYC, when he passed in Sept. 2000.
Early on, Stryker realized that as much as he loved playing standards and the jazz repertoire he had to have something of his own to give to the music. He feels that his writing combined with his playing is what shapes his musical expression. He has recorded and published over 130 of his own compositions. Eighteen of those compositions (from the first five SteepleChase CD’s) are compiled in the book : The Music of Dave Stryker (SteepleChase Music) which can be ordered on this website. Some of the other artists who have recorded his music are: Stanley Turrentine, Kevin Mahogany, Victor Lewis, and Steve Slagle. Dave continues to perform with The Dave Stryker Organ Trio, his Blue to the Bone Band, and The Stryker / Slagle Band. Recent gigs for The Stryker / Slagle Band have included a recent week at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Blue Note in Las Vegas, The Jazz Bakery in LA, and a 2003 tour of Japan.
Sideman work has included vocalist Kevin Mahogany’s group, with Dave writing and arranging music for Kevin’s Telarc release Pride and Joy and Another Time, Another Place on Warner Bros and tours of Europe, Japan, Brazil, Poland and Carnegie Hall. He also has worked with Blue Note saxophonist Javon Jackson and pianist Eliane Elias. He has appeared on over 50 CD’s as a sideman. As a producer, Stryker compiled the CD The Guitar Artistry of Billy Rogers which is the only existing record of the brilliant jazz playing of the late underground legend who was his friend, former teacher and member of the Crusaders. He has also produced “A Tribute to Grant Green” on Evidence Music.
Dave is the Adjunct Professor of Jazz guitar at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. He is passing along his experience by teaching both privately The Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop, The Litchfield Jazz Camp, and the Jazzhouse Kids Workshop in Montclair NJ. His book Dave Stryker’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method (Mel Bay Publishing) is available here on his website at www.davestryker.com.