On a hot summer day in the midst of making a record called Eight Track II, guitarist Dave Stryker was thinking ahead. He already had killer quartet on hand in the studio, why not cut a Yuletide track that would likely be ready for release at the time everyone is in the mood to hear it? And so now, we are treated with a summer-recorded, winter-ready lagniappe track: “O Tannebaum.”
Jazzing up Christmas tunes isn’t some new hobby for Stryker; around a dozen years ago he made an album Six String Santa (2005), which featured solely Stryker’s guitar. It even includes a guitar-only rendition of “O Tannenbaum.” This time he’s got help, ample help in the way of Steve Nelson on vibes, Jared Gold on Hammond B-3 and McClenty Hunter on drums.
Hunter goes for a loose, greasy groove on drums, while Stryker, Nelson and Gold take relaxed solo turns in succession, culminating in some exchange of gifts between Stryker and Nelson. But in keeping with the breezy disposition of this rendition, they don’t take things to extremes. When it’s this tasty it needn’t be too spicy.
Get a free download of “O Tannabaum” right here, and put a little swing in your holidays.