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Peering Into a ‘Blue Soul’ - Dave Stryker Interview

On top of teaching world-class jazz guitar lessons here at ArtistWorks, Dave Stryker has a historic career that includes the recording of over 30 albums. Dave is back once again to shake up the social distancing blues with his latest release, Blue Soul


After several appearances as a guest with Dave Stryker’s Organ Trio, saxophonist Bob Mintzer (who serves as the principal conductor for Cologne, Germany’s WDR Big Band) had the idea to arrange some of Dave’s music to feature him with the ensemble. Bob thought Stryker’s hip takes on ‘70s pop tunes from his Eight Track series as well as his originals would be a good fit for the dynamic big band.


In March of 2019, Dave was invited to Germany for a week of rehearsing, recording and performing with the WDR Big Band, the result of which is Blue Soul.


We sat down with Dave to get some more insight on how Blue Soul came to be.


First and foremost, how are you holding up in these tough times?

Thanks for asking. Like most of us, I've watched all my gigs get cancelled or rescheduled. I'm grateful for my university-teaching positions at Indiana University, Rutgers and Montclair State University, as well as my online school at ArtistWorks. We finished the semester online and that has been a learning curve. Mainly I've been staying home practicing solo guitar, teaching and trying to stay positive.


In times like this it’s really nice to have a connection to people all over the world with this online community at ArtistWorks. I enjoy working with all my students at my ArtistWorks school here, and seeing their progress helps send a little positive energy out into the world.


What makes a socially distant album release different compared to a traditional release?

This release was actually in the pipeline already. I considered postponing it, but I decided to put some positive music out into the world as we sure need it now.


How did you first come in contact with Bob Mintzer?

I've known about Bob and been a fan since I first moved to New York City in 1980. He's one of the greats of the saxophone as well as a great composer and arranger. Bob had been a guest with my organ trio on a few tours and he had the idea to arrange some of my music for the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. So last march I spent a week rehearsing, recording and playing some concerts with them.


On top of some incredible original tracks, Blue Soul also features covers of Prince, Marvin Gaye and Jimmy Webb, just to name a few. How did you decide upon covering those tunes?

Those are actually tunes from my Eight Track project. Bob and I thought they would work well when performed with the WDR Big Band, so we added them to the album.


This album takes some of your earlier work and reimagines it to feature an accompanying big band. What's it like to hear your music with so many more moving parts added?

Amazing! It's definitely a bucket list item to hear my music expanded to 17 pieces. Hearing Bob's incredible arrangements and playing, as well as that of the great players of WDR, was a fantastic experience.


Where can people hear this album?

It is available to listen on all streaming platforms. For direct artist support, you can purchase digital downloads at and physical copies at


Interested in taking online music lessons with Dave? He can teach you all you need to know, from basic jazz guitar chords to masterful solos. Still on the fence? Try some free jazz guitar lessons before you fully commit.




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