Dave Stryker Trio with Bob Mintzer

Groove Street
(Strikezone Records)

Last summer, guitarist Dave Stryker’s rock-solid trio got together in the studio with the adventurous saxophonist Bob Mintzer to record an album of new music in advance of a weeklong gig at Birdland in New York. To no one’s surprise, the session was a festive reunion of sorts, as Mintzer — a longtime friend of Stryker’s who arranged and conducted an entire album of the guitarist’s music for the 2020 album Blue Soul (Strikezone) with the WDR Big Band — had guested with the trio on past tours and was more than familiar with how they approach a groove — any groove. He had never played any of this program of new music and standards with Stryker, organist Jared Gold and drummer McClenty Hunter, however, before arriving at the studio. The energy, laid-back swing and high-spirited interplay the foursome engages in on Groove Street speaks to the height of communication among these first-class players, who allow themselves to become completely absorbed in any given moment. Most of the songs were captured in one take; the band brims with confidence and indulges in streaks of spontaneous combustion from start to finish, digging deep into the classic organ-shuffle feel of Stryker’s title track and other soul-stirring originals (“Summit” and “Code Blue”), devouring the Mintzer compositions “Overlap” and “Straight Ahead,” elevating the very essence of Gold’s “Soulstice,” bringing a laid-back swagger to the standard “The More I See You” and the Eddie Harris classic “Cold Duck Time,” and reflecting with curious, reverent wonderment on Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes.” So many avenues lead to and from Groove Street, where the food trucks add fresh flavors to well-seasoned traditional fare and stay open all night — a veritable feast for the soul.

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