“Guitarist / composer Dave Stryker possesses golden tone, urgent style, and the kind of heated technique that can blow the roof off any gig. Stryker cut his teeth with organist Jack McDuff and tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, and that grits-n-gravy goodness seemed to mark his music: an urban tale spinner, a sharp stylist able to improve any bandstand, a storyteller in sound of the highest degree. With As We Are, the jazz gods have alighted on the guitarist and elevated his playing, his composing, his soloing, and his music. A beautiful, bittersweet concept album, As We Are includes pianist/ arranger Julian Shore, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade, who convey new-found depth and empathy to Stryker’s compositions. A shimmering string quartet led by Sara Caswell enhances some of the finest compositions of his 30-year career….2022 is a great time to be Dave Stryker. And to be a lover of his music, and the gift that is As We Are.” – Ken Micallef / Jazz Times Jan 2022
“It’s my dream project,” Dave Stryker repeats several times in a conversation about his 34th release as a leader, As We Are, on which the guitar master addresses one of the few configurations he hasn’t tackled during 40-plus years in the jazz trenches.
Stryker, not predisposed to hyperbole, isn’t exaggerating. How else to describe an opportunity to record a suite of new originals with a band propelled by all-world bass-drum partners John Patitucci and Brian Blade, fleshed out by harmonically erudite pianist Julian Shore’s bespoke string quartet arrangements that include room for a couple of soaring violin solos by the luminous Sara Caswell? Stimulated by the chance to make music together after long isolation, all members interact with crackling, pent-up energy.
“I always wanted to do something where strings would really be integrated into the music, not a coloring or sweetening that comes in later,” Stryker says. Shore rises to the occasion, imparting a lush, fulsome sound to the two violins, viola and cello, creating sections that offer texture and contrast.
In keeping with the dream project Stryker reached out to two of the greatest musicians alive today – Patitucci and Blade who happily signed on. Six new Stryker originals, one Shore original and Nick Drake’s River Man are arranged with string quartet by Shore to create one of the most truly beautiful and exciting recordings in recent times.
1 Overture – Dave Stryker / Julian Shore – BMI) 1:10
2 Lanes – Dave Stryker (D. Strike Music – BMI) 6:14
3 River Man – Nick Drake (BMG Rights Management – ASCAP) 9:01
4 Hope – Dave Stryker (D. Strike Music – BMI) 6:24
5 Saudade – Dave Stryker (D. Strike Music – BMI) 5:52
6 One Thing At A Time – Julian Shore (Julian Shore Music – BMI) 7:17
7 As We Were – Dave Stryker (D. Strike Music – BMI) 5:46
8 Dreams Are Real – Dave Stryker (D. Strike Music – BMI) 7:18
9 Soul Friend – Dave Stryker (D. Strike Music – BMI) 6:52
Dave Stryker – guitar
Julian Shore – piano
John Patitucci – bass
Brian Blade – drums
Sara Caswell – violin 1 (solo, tracks 3 and 9)
Monica K.Davis – violin 2
Benni von Gutzeit – viola
Marika Hughes – cello
For more information: www.davestryker.com