Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
The Stryker/Slagle Band is Dave Stryker (guitar) and Steve Slagle (alto and soprano sax, flute). These two men came together because of a mutual respect for music and many of the people that have come and gone over the years before them so they could be some of the privileged few to create great music in their image and memory.
Different people, places and things inspire us all and music holds a special kind of goodwill that we all seem to understand when we listen, particularly when the performing musicians let you know that some of that mojo is part of the entire picture on a project.
The Scene is a very consistent recording and all instrumental. It is filled with the sounds of contemporary jazz that is suitable for any music fan, even those that may not be a jazz listener; there are plentiful instances of fine musicianship on the recording to appreciate. In addition, some special guests add their share to the mix and overall quality of this project. Joe Lovano (tenor sax on tracks 1, 3, 6, 7) a name everyone knows that is familiar with jazz, is featured prominently and his touch and presence makes a difference in the way this duo deliver their music. Clearly, adding someone of Lovano's pure musicality to the mix is going to bring everyone to the next level and that is exactly what happens here. In addition, Jay Anderson (bass) and Victor Lewis (drums) step in to add their expertise and chops to round out this fine session.
Nine tracks make up this collective musical brilliance filled with varying degrees of tempos and textures. The music takes you on a textbook journey of the jazz palette with grace and precision, literally on every track. Besides the contemporary foundation from which the trio works you also get a taste of fusion, smooth ballads, and some stinging and well place guitar leads from Stryker's six-string, not to mention some of sweetest sax playing from Slagle and Lovano.
Perhaps the most gratifying thing about listening to this music is the outright simplicity of presentation, keeping in mind that jazz is complex in comparison to other genres. This is a purposefully adventure down the multi-hued roads of jazz and it fits into one nice slice of audible aptness. The production value is outstanding and the sound is crisp and clear with the bottom end holding up nicely without interfering with the importance of each instrument.
This is a very good session from men with their heart in the right place, now that is what it is all about…and exactly why this recording works so well. If you are looking for some nice jazz that will be appropriate for any setting or mood, this is your CD.