Stryker, not predisposed to hyperbole, isn’t exaggerating. How else to describe an opportunity to record a suite of new originals with a band propelled by all-world bass-drum partners John Patitucci and Brian Blade, fleshed out by harmonically erudite pianist Julian Shore’s bespoke string quartet arrangements that include room for a couple of soaring violin solos by the luminous Sara Caswell? Stimulated by the chance to make music together after long isolation, all members interact with crackling, pent-up energy.
“I always wanted to do something where strings would really be integrated into the music, not a coloring or sweetening that comes in later,” Stryker says. Shore rises to the occasion, imparting a lush, fulsome sound to the two violins, viola and cello, creating sections that offer texture and contrast.
In keeping with the dream project Stryker reached out to two of the greatest musicians alive today – Patitucci and Blade who happily signed on. Six new Stryker originals, one Shore original and Nick Drake’s River Man are arranged with string quartet by Shore to create one of the most truly beautiful and exciting recordings in recent times.