Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker leading his own group (with 34 CDs as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why The Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.”
Hot House magazine awarded him Best Guitarist Fans Decision for 2017. He was recently voted once again as one of the top jazz guitarists in the 2022 Downbeat Critics and Readers Polls for the 15th time.
Stryker’s last five CDs have all gone to No. 1 on the JazzWeek Radio chart. His most recent release “As We Are” features John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Julian Shore, and a string quartet led by violinist Sara Caswell. Critics are calling it one of Stryker’s greatest works yet. “Eight Track III” stayed at No. 1 on JazzWeek Radio chart for 6 straight weeks. “Messin’ with Mister T” is a celebration of the man he worked with for over a decade—Stanley Turrentine, “Mister T”—with 10 of the greatest tenor sax players on the scene today. It went to No. 1 on JazzWeek Radio, stayed in the Top 50 for 20 weeks, and has received great reviews including 4.5 stars in Downbeat magazine.
Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to New York City in 1980. After establishing himself in the local music scene, he joined organist Jack McDuff’s group during 1984-1985. When McDuff wasn’t on the road (literally traveling by van all over the country), they worked a steady four-night a week gig at Dude’s Lounge in Harlem. His first break, this turned out to be an invaluable experience, paying his dues night after night with the soulful jazz organist. It was at Dude’s Lounge that Stryker met tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who would occasionally sit in. After leaving McDuff, Turrentine asked Stryker to join his quintet. From 1986-1995 he played with the legendary saxophonist at all the major festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the world. He is featured on two of Turrentine’s CDs, and Stryker was able to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. The 10 years playing alongside the tenor legend helped Stryker realize the importance of having his own sound. Stryker continued to work with Turrentine and was with him during his final week at the Blue Note in NYC, when he passed in 2000.
Early on, Stryker realized that as much as he loved playing standards and the jazz repertoire, he had to have something of his own to give to the music. Stryker’s writing, combined with his playing, is what shapes his musical expression. He has recorded and published more than 150 of his own compositions and released The Dave Stryker Songbook with most of his original music.
Some of the other artists who have recorded Stryker’s music are: Stanley Turrentine, Kevin Mahogany, Victor Lewis, and Steve Slagle. He continues to perform with The Dave Stryker Organ Trio, Dave Stryker Eight Track Band, and his Blue to the Bone band.
Recent gigs have included Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Keystone Korner in Baltimore MD, the Jazz Bakery in LA, and tours of Europe, Canada, and Japan.
Stryker co-led The Stryker/Slagle Band for 30 years with saxophonist Steve Slagle. He has appeared on more than 75 CDs as a sideman. Past sideman work has included vocalist Kevin Mahogany’s group, with Stryker writing and arranging music for Mahogany’s Telarc release Pride and Joy and Another Time, Another Place on Warner Bros, in addition to tours of Europe, Japan, Brazil, Poland, and Carnegie Hall. As a producer, Stryker compiled the CD The Guitar Artistry of Billy Rogers which is the only existing record of the brilliant jazz playing of the late underground legend—who was his friend, former teacher and member of the Crusaders. He has also produced A Tribute to Grant Green on Evidence Music.
Stryker is an adjunct professor of jazz guitar at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. He recently launched his online teaching school at released a book Dave Stryker’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method Vol III.
Biography provided by artist management.