An adept jazz guitarist with a strong blues- and soul-influenced sound, Dave Stryker has worked as both a sideman and bandleader.
Born in 1957 in Omaha, Nebraska, Stryker first began playing guitar at age 10. He initially learned to play from listening to records by the Beatles, Cream, and Johnny Winter. Soon, however, he was investigating the music of influential blues artists like Freddie King, as well as more heady jazz improvisers like Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, and Miles Davis. By his teens, he was gigging regularly around Omaha, and in 1978, he moved to Los Angeles where he studied for a time with guitarist Billy Rogers and first befriended Hammond B-3 organist Brother Jack McDuff.
After moving to New York City in the '80s, he toured for several years with McDuff's soul-jazz outfit. In 1986, he met Stanley Turrentine, and spent the next decade touring with the saxophonist, during which time he developed significantly, coming into his own as a guitarist. As a solo artist, Stryker debuted in 1991 with Passages on SteepleChase, which also featured Joey Calderazzo, Adam Nussbaum, and others. From there, he delivered a steady stream of well-regarded albums for SteepleChase, including 1993's Full Moon, 1994's Nomad, and 1996's Big Room.
More albums followed in the 2000s, like 2001's Changing Times and 2005's Big City, which showcased his eclectic brand of guitar-based blues, swing, New Orleans funk, soul-jazz, and rock. During this period, he also made appearances on albums by Kevin Mahogany, James Williams, and Royce Campbell, and co-led several dates with saxophonist Steve Slagle. In 2010, he paid homage to longtime bandmate, drummer Tony Reedus (who died from a pulmonary embolism in 2008) with the organ-steeped One for Reedus. Another organ quintet session, Blue Strike, followed a year later.
In 2014, Stryker launched his own Strykezone Records imprint, kicking things off with Eight Track, featuring Stefon Harris, Jared Gold, and McClenty Hunter. Messin' with Mister T followed a year later, and included guest spots from Eric Alexander, Jimmy Heath, Chris Potter, and many more. After a follow-up to his first Eight Track effort (Eight Track, Vol. 2), he released the 2017 quartet session Strykin' Ahead. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi