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Dave Stryker Talks To Jazz Guitar Today About His New Album, “Prime”



In this exclusive interview, Dave Stryker provides insight into his new recording, “Prime” – released Feb 2023.

Dave Stryker’s Organ Trio was invited to tour with Steely Dan on the East Coast leg of their 2022 tour.  Before the tour, the trio had freshly recorded eight new Stryker tunes plus one Standard. The new album, Prime, was released in February 2023.  In this interview, Dave gives us some insight into this recording.

JB:  This is your working trio of Jared Gold on organ and McClenty Hunter on drums. Give us a little history of this trio.

DS:  I met Jared Gold around 2004 at Cecil’s in West Orange, NJ. So, we’ve been playing together for around nineteen years now. Our original drummer was the great Tony Reedus. When Tony passed away Jared suggested McClenty Hunter and we’ve been playing as a trio now for about 15 years. We’ve played all over the states (including a great tour last summer opening up for Steely Dan), and have made several records together. Prime is the first record to feature the trio exclusively.

JB:  You wrote all the music for this album.  Did you have these specific musicians in mind as you wrote the songs?

DS:  In October 2020 we were booked to play a concert out of town. Because of the pandemic, we were allowed to send a filmed concert instead.

Knowing we would be in the studio to record I decided to write all new music for the trio. We hadn’t been playing for eight months because of the lockdown

so, we went in and just played one take per song like a concert. I feel the new record really captures the empathy of the trio in action.

JB:  Talk about the connection that the songs “Captain Jack” and “Dude’s Lounge” have with your old bandleader and organist Brother Jack McDuff.

DS:  I wrote “Captain Jack” for my old boss Jack McDuff. When we weren’t out on the road (traveling in Jack’s truck) Jack and I had a steady three-night-a-week gig at Dude’s Lounge in Harlem from 10 to 4 am! Some great times. So those two blues songs are written for that era and the feeling of playing for the people.

JB:  The songs “Hope” and “As We Were” come from your previous album featuring a string quartet. Any connection between the string quartet and the organ trio?

DS:  “Hope” and “As We Were” were written for the Prime recording. Right after we recorded them I started working on the string quartet record As We Are with Julian Shore.  Those two tunes felt right to expand with the string section.

JB:  How did your drummer, McClenty Hunter, inspire you to write the song “Mac?”

DS:  McClenty Hunter is one of the best drummers I know. He has the ability to play any style and make it feel great. I wanted to feature him on something he could stretch out on.

JB:  Talk a little about your process of composition.  Do you write the melody first and then harmonize it or do you come up with a chord sequence first? 

DS:  Both ways. Often times I will just come up with ideas when I’m playing my guitar and I’ll record them. Later I’ll go back and listen to things and flesh them out into a song.  Sometimes things will inspire me to compose, like listening to music, reading a book, interacting with people, enjoying my family, taking a hike, or just living life can be inspiring.

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