Jazz Album of the Week: Dave Stryker, Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band Merge to Make Blue Soul
July 27, 2020. Guitarist Dave Stryker has had massive success in the jazz world, with numerous albums as a leader, and a fun approach to playing jazz. Bob Mintzer is a master arranger and conductor. He is so great at what he does that he is now the principal conductor of the world class WDR Big Band. These three forces came together to create Blue Soul, a fun collaboration that celebrates Stryker’s work.
In recent years, Stryker released Eight Track, Volumes I and II, which were fun and funky jazz interpretations of classic popular music, some of which appear on Blue Soul. Jazz versions of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and “Trouble Man,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” and Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” take on a whole new life while being performed by these amazing artists.
This album is the brainchild of Mintzer, who made sure that Stryker’s original compositions got the WDR treatment as well. He worked on the arrangements for big band, and invited Dave Stryker to be a guest performer in Cologne with the band in March of 2019, which is when this recording took place. Crowd pleasers like “Aha,” “Blues Strut” and “Came to Believe” sound even better with Dave’s nimble playing in front of the big band.
Blue Soul is great music written and arranged by masters, and performed by some of the world’s greatest musicians. It’s a fresh take on music that didn’t necessarily need a makeover, but the finished product sparkles.