Jazz Album of the Week: Guitarst Dave Stryker Celebrates With Eight Track Christmas

Dec 17, 2019

December 16, 2019. Guitarist Dave Stryker wanted to thank fans and supporters of his Eight Track album series with a holiday offering this season. Even if it meant having to record it in the dead of summer.

He was able to get Stefon Harris, Jared Gold and McClenty Hunter to join him in the heat to lay down Eight Track Christmas, and have a ball with some holiday classics.

Mel Tormé wrote “The Christmas Song” on a blistering summer day, so maybe these guys were onto something. In true Eight Track form, some yuletide selections from the pop songbook are included. Gold’s work on the organ makes the group’s version of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” a funky tribute to the originator. John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” makes an appearance, and each of the performers get to carry the tune at one point or another.

It wouldn’t be right to have an album called Eight Track Christmas without paying homage to “The King.” Elvis didn’t write “Blue Christmas,” but he certainly made it famous. I’m sure he would be appreciative of Stryker’s chops on this addition.

Another really fun Eight Track worthy nod comes from vibraphonist Stefon Harris in his “Soulful Frosty.” Rather than just having the guys work their groovy magic with the definitive version, he went ahead and mashed it up with Young-Holt Unlimited’s “Soulful Strut!” How fun is that!?

If you like holiday jazz and don’t want to end up bored with it this season, Dave Stryker’s Eight Track Holiday is the way to go. It’s full of classic seasonal music with a funky twist that is sure to surprise and delight your holiday guests.

Track list:

This Christmas
What Child Is This?
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Happy Xmas (War Is Over
Soulful Frosty
Christmas Time Is Here
Sleigh Ride
Blue Christmas
We Three Kings
O Tannenbaum