Jazz Studies

Dave Stryker

Adjunct Lecturer in Music (Jazz Guitar)

Stryker, Dave


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Jazz Studies


Dave Stryker is adjunct lecturer in jazz guitar at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Known for his approach combining jazz with soulful blues, he has recorded over 20 CDs as a leader and more than 50 CDs as a sideman. His most recent CD, Blue Strike, made many "Best of 2011" lists, including WBGO Jazz Radio and Tom Reney/New England Public Radio.

He was voted one of the Top Ten Guitarists in the 2001 DownBeat Readers poll and a Rising Star for the last five years in the DownBeat Critics Poll.

Stryker grew up in Omaha, Neb., 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 in 1984-85.

When they weren't on the road, they worked a steady four-night-a-week gig at Dude's Lounge in Harlem. Stryker's first break, this turned out to be an invaluable experience, paying his dues with the soulful jazz organist. It was at Dude's Lounge that Stryker met tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who would occasionally sit in. After Stryker left McDuff, Turrentine asked him to join his quintet.

From 1986 to1995, Stryker played with the legendary saxophonist at all the major festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the world. He is featured on two Turrentine CDs, and Turrentine recorded Stryker's tune "Side Steppin'."

With Turrentine, Stryker was able to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. The 10 years playing alongside the tenor legend helped Stryker realize the importance of having his own sound. He continued to work with Turrentine and was with him during his final week at the Blue Note jazz club in New York when he died in September 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 CDs) are compiled in the book The Music of Dave Stryker (SteepleChase Music), which can be ordered on his website. In addition to Turrentine, some of the other artists who have recorded his music are Kevin Mahogany, Victor Lewis, and Steve Slagle.

Stryker continues to perform with his working unit the Stryker/Slagle Band as well as his other projects—the Dave Stryker Organ Trio and the Blue to the Bone Band. Recent gigs for the Stryker/Slagle Band have included a 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 L.A., and a 2003 tour of Japan.

Recent sideman work has included vocalist Kevin Mahogany's group—with Stryker writing and arranging music for Mahogany's Telarc release Pride and Joy and Warner Bros. release Another Time, Another Place. They have appeared at Carnegie Hall and toured Europe, Japan, Brazil, and Poland.

Stryker also has worked with Blue Note saxophonist Javon Jackson and pianist Eliane Elias.

As a producer, he 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.

Stryker teaches privately and at the Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop, the Litchfield Jazz Fest Camp, and The Veneto/ New School Workshop in Italy. He is also an adjunct professor at the Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. His book Dave Stryker's Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method (Mel Bay Publishing) is available on Amazon.com.