|Review courtesy of All About Jazz:
On Live at The Jazz Standard, one can feel the intense chemistry that Dave Stryker and Steve Slagle, who have played together for several years, have in their first live recording, captured last March at the Manhattan club. The recording is as raw as it gets and showcases not only the two musicians’ talent but also that of bassist Ed Howard and drummer Victor Lewis.
Although the musicians demonstrate their love for bebop and boogaloo throughout most of the tracks, with Stryker and Slagle complementing each other’s riffs, it is the simplest moments when you feel they are at their best. For instance, in the reinterpretation of George and Ira Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy,” Stryker begins with a very retro Charlie Byrd-like succession of chords and the rest of the musicians follow Slagle as he begins the familiar notes of the tune. The saxophonist then drifts into a cool series of improv notes while the guitarist accompanies him with an almost bossa nova subtlety—a simple but effective way to approach this standard.
Another great moment is “Muddy Waters,” a Dave Stryker blues composition in E (“which guitarists love but saxes hate,” wrote Slagle in the liner notes), which sets off with a traditional Clapton-meets-Chet Atkins bluesy intro and then morphs into a slow jazz tune as Slagle joins in. The song slowly modernizes itself as it goes on, bringing in various elements.
This album is a great document of some fantastic musical moments and if you were there, you helped make this an even better recording. You can feel how the musicians fed on the audience’s enthusiasm and made each set an exciting musical journey.