David Stryker, like my main man John Scofield, is the kind of jazz guitarist who never seems satisfied with sticking in one style of music for too long.
Earlier this week, we presented a pretty damned impressive fusion side of his with 1998's Shades Of Miles. Last year, Stryker did his late, great boss Jack McDuff proud with a flawlessly executed organ trio album called The Chaser. And now earlier this year, Stryker hooked up once again with alto/soprano sax player Steve Slagle for a return to his bop side in the latest Stryker/Slagle Band offering, Latest Outlook.
That all said about Stryker, Slagle is no slouch, either. He's worked as a sideman for such luminaries as Charlie Haden, Carla Bley and more recently in Joe Lovano's Nonet. He's also recorded as a leader since the mid-eighties. Slagle's got a well-developed style deeply rooted in technique of the alto bebop giants like Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean, but he's also picked up a lot of Lovano's own advanced tenor style and adapted it to his alto.
These two guys have gotten together to play at least since Slagle guested on Stryker's first album back in 1988. But it's only fairly recently that they've decided to turn it into a full-blown, co-led pianoless quartet. Their third release Latest Outlook reflects an apparent trend in churning out a record every other year.
The bass and drum chairs for this go around are filled impressively by Jay Anderson and Billy Hart, respectively.
Jay Anderson is a rock-solid bassist who seems to be vying to unseat Ray Brown for most sideman sessions. And Billy Hart, are you kidding me? A versatile drummer who has played for Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, and was present on some discs I covered recently by Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. Getting a rhythm session like this is like adding Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant to your already solid basketball team.
And if that wasn't enough, Lovano himself shows up for a couple of tracks.
At this point, there's no need to tell you that this disc contains some maximal bebop jazz. But I'll try to elaborate by highlighting a few tracks, anyway.