Album Review of
Eight Track Christmas

Written by Joe Ross
December 2, 2019 - 4:58pm EST
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After hearing guitarist Dave Stryker’s Eight Track Christmas, “yule” run right down to your local CD store and pick up copies for all your friends and family members. The album is a great combination of easy-listening jazz treatments of Christmas standards and some contemporary material. One might miss vocals on a few numbers that are typically sung (like “Christmas Time is Here”), but Stryker’s bright, breezy instrumental arrangements establish a nice holiday groove.   Dave Stryker’s quartet is well rounded out with Stefon Harris (vibraphone), Jared Gold (organ) and McClenty Hunter (drums, percussion). Steve Nelson plays vibes on the closer, “O Tannenbaum.” I’ve heard similar jazzy arrangements before of several like “This Christmas,” “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” and “Christmas Time is Here,” and carols like “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.” Thus, highlights are tracks like Stryker’s relaxed bluesy take on “Blue Christmas,” and his stylish “Soulful Frosty,” a mash-up of “Soulful Strut” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The band also “strykes” gold with their up-tempo rendering of the classic “Sleigh Ride,” and their six-minute versions of “We Three Kings,” and “O Tannenbaum” that gives each musician and their improvisation plenty of time in the spotlight.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)