Stryker stretches out while putting his skills as a soloist on full display, especially on the title cut – a highflying swing tune where he solos with originality and soul on chorus after chorus.
A take on Lennon and McCartney’s “Can’t Buy Me Love” finds him zipping through a lengthy solo using everything at his disposal to make his point; single notes mix with chords and octaves as it builds to a gorgeous, harmonic chord solo.
Stryker’s original tunes cover ground from frenetic bop (“First Strike”) to light, bluesy swing (“The Rose (For Mike Rosinksy)”) to the unique melody and otherworldly feel of “Sentinelese.” Other covers include the classic “Tenderly,” given an after-hours feel with bluesy soloing, and the gorgeous ballad “Lady Sings the Blues.”
Stryker is accompanied by Jared Gold (on Hammond B3), Quincy Davis (drums), and Stephen Riley (sax), whose breathy tone is the perfect complement to Stryker’s playing – and all know how to build solos and keep them moving. All but two tracks are at least eight minutes long, and the group’s take on “Watch What Happens” clocks in at almost 13 minutes.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.