Baker’s Circle

After last year’s successful big band outing, Blue Soul, guitarist Dave Stryker is back with his hard-driving, deep grooving B3 organ group on his new recording—Baker’s Circle. With the addition of cutting-edge tenor player Walter Smith III, Baker’s Circle features Stryker’s originals as well as a couple Eight Track gems and a tip of the hat to his former boss Stanley Turrentine. Along with Smith III, this fresh recording features Dave’s working band of Jared Gold on organ and McClenty Hunter on drums and adds Cuban percussionist Mayra Casales to three tracks as well.

Baker’s Circle starts with three Stryker originals. The hard-hitting “Tough” leads off with exciting solos by the whole band. Casales’ congas join in on the latin groove of “El Camino” followed by the bluesy 7/4 of “Dreamsong.” Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love” is a medium swinger after which Gold’s burning “Rush Hour” shows why Walter Smith III is considered one of the best of his generation. And Dave adds his Eight Track fingerprint to Leon Russell’s “Superstar” and Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.”

Says Stryker: “Composer and educator David Baker was in my corner from the time I met him at a jazz camp when I was 17 till he hired me to take over as guitar professor at Indiana University a few years ago. I used to see him standing outside the Music School on a circular drive waiting for his wife Lida to pick him up. I named the song ‘Baker’s Circle, in his memory.”

Baker’s Circle closes with “Trouble (No. 2),” a grooving shuffle originally recorded by Stryker’s former boss, the great Stanley Turrentine. This caps a diverse program that showcases Stryker at his best—modern playing with the groove and soul that comes from years of experience.

A lively and enjoyable session of hard bop and funky jazz grooves with some assured playing.

Label: Strikezone Records 8821 – March 5th 2021

  • Dave Stryker – guitar
  • Walter Smith III – tenor sax
  • Jared Gold – organ
  • McClenty Hunter – drums
  • Mayra Casales – percussion (#2, 7, 8)

To be featured on World of Jazz 427 on March 7th

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