Title - 'Eight Track Christmas'
Artist - Dave Stryker
Fresh off the success of Eight Track III (6 Weeks at #1 on the JazzWeek Radio Chart), Dave Stryker and his Eight Track Band decided to make a Christmas album for all the listeners who have enjoyed and supported the music.
So what we have here on this wonderful new 10-track Christmas album entitled Eight Track Christmas (out November 8th, 2019 via Strikezone Records) is Stryker and the band putting their own stamp on Christmas songs old and new.
1, 'This Christmas'
2. 'What Child Is This?'
3. 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'
4. 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'
5. 'Soulful Frosty'
6. 'Christmas Time Is Here'
7. 'Sleigh Ride'
8. 'Blue Christmas'
9. 'We Three Kings'
10. 'O Tannenbaum'
Ok, sure, it's a little weird to be listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but that said, boy, does it make you feel good and fill your soul with joyous, wondrously uplifting thoughts!
Kicking things off with the more recent entry into the festive lyrical season, is a laid back smooth jazz cover of Donny Hathaway's 'This Christmas,' which is in turn backed by new jazz spins taken for 'What Child Is This?' and 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.'
A cover of John Lennon's 'Happy Xmas (War is Over)' had me worried going in (I mean, well, you know), but Stryker's version is a true, and righteous, low key, smooth jazz musical blessing, for sure.
The upbeat and joyful 'Soulful Frosty', Stryker's mash-up of Young-Holt Unlimited's classic 'Soulful Strut' and 'Frosty the Snowman' has to be heard to be believed (and is as inventive as they come within this genre, trust me), and that's followed by another low key take on Vince Guaraldi's infamous 'Christmas Time Is Here.'
A spirited, frenetically jazzed up take on 'Sleigh Ride' will have you snappin' your fingers whilst trying to not spill your egg nog, and then comes a rather soulful take on 'Blue Christmas.'
The album then rounds out with more jazz-imbued takes on holiday classics in the form of both 'We Three Kings' and 'O Tannenbaum' (featuring Eight Track II's Steve Nelson), but then, and as the last beats are heard drifting off, I would suggest hitting Play again and letting the Christmas spirit embrace you for another half an hour!
"It's crazy to be arranging and recording Christmas music in the middle of summer," Dave Stryker admits, "but I think I was able to put my stamp on this batch of holiday favorites and make a pretty hip record along with the always-groovin Stefon Harris, Jared Gold, and McClenty Hunter. We put our Eight Track vibe on these tunes!"
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