If we could all be as hip, happy and glowingly nostalgia filled as veteran guitarist and producer Dave Stryker is on the cover of Eight Track III, which, as the title implies, caps his popular, wonderfully re-inventive trilogy of classic 70’s (and 70’s adjacent) hits.
Holding his electric axe, he’s wearing shades and leopard skin platform shoes, listening to vinyl while some classic LPs linger on the floor. Stryker’s mix of feistiness/festiveness (“Move on Up,” “Too High”) and sultry sweetness (“We’ve Only Just Begun”) takes flight on the underlying bluesy harmonies and grooves of his longtime trio of Jared Gold (organ) and McClenty Hunter (drums), both of whom were on board for the first two rounds of this amazing series.
The songs that could have been played on an 8-track apparatus in the 70s still sound fresh as jazz adventures in the 21st Century.
Adding extra soulful shimmer and jazz magic this time around is guest vibraphonist Stefon Harris, who shines brightest on Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,” a classic tailor made for his wide-ranging improvisational talents. It was Harris, last summer on the way to a gig, who suggested to Stryker that he had to complete a trilogy. We can only hope some other great musician Stryker plays with can suggest extending the series longer.