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Jazz guitarist Dave Stryker performs with UTEP musicians

Dave+Stryker+performs+with+the+UTEP+commercial+music+faculty+combo+at+Fox+Fine+Arts+Recital+Hall+on+Oct.+3%2C+2018.+
Dave Stryker performs with the UTEP commercial music faculty combo at Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall on Oct. 3, 2018.

Dave Stryker performs with the UTEP commercial music faculty combo at Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall on Oct. 3, 2018.

Claudia Hernandez

Claudia Hernandez

Dave Stryker performs with the UTEP commercial music faculty combo at Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall on Oct. 3, 2018.

Oscar Avila, Contributor

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On Wednesday, Oct. 3, renowned jazz guitarist, Dave Stryker, performed at the Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall with the UTEP Commercial Music combo. The event, which was organized by guitar lecturer Shaun Mahoney, featured Stryker, Dr. Andy P. Smith, Professor Erik Unsworth and Dr. Christopher Reyman. This is the first time the Nebraskan musician was on campus.

Stryker started playing with organist Jack McDuff when he moved to New York City in 1980. Afterward, he would go on to play with legendary saxophonist Stanley Turrentine at major music events worldwide. Mahoney knows Stryker from the time he lived in New Jersey and after working at UTEP for some time he had the idea to invite a guest to teach guitar for a few days. The jazz guitarist was the first to come to mind, so the event was organized for this fall semester.

Claudia Hernandez
Dave Stryker performs with the UTEP commercial music faculty combo at Fox Fine Arts Recital Hall on Oct. 3, 2018.

Mahoney held three workshops the week of the concert for students on the mystery of improvisation, and it broke down concepts of jazz to give learners some ideas and methods to work on.

“Everybody has music in them, has creativity in them, sometimes you just need a spark to bring it out,” Stryker said.

To Stryker, teaching music and techniques to help others play better is more than a job. As the Adjunct Professor of Jazz guitar at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, he sees it as his calling. This is a way for him to do something positive in this world.

Additionally, he feels responsible to pass on the knowledge that he has learned from playing with some of the greatest jazz artists.

Mahoney was ecstatic that the event was able to take place like he had wanted it to.

“It’s really rewarding for me to be able to organize this and give the students the opportunity to learn from Dave (Stryker) and hear him play,” Mahoney said.

The guitar lecturer also learned other ways to teach from watching his friend give lessons, so he was excited to see it unfold even further.

The performer was looking forward to the concert as well and having the opportunity to play with faculty members from Commercial Music.

“We’ll be playing my music and arrangements of standards, and maybe a couple of my originals from my latest record called “Strykin’ Ahead”,” Stryker said.

He noted that they all spoke a “common language” in the form of jazz music, although all musicians do not share a common playing style. Basically, the music is like a sketch which makes it moldable, and everyone understands how music works, so they can collaborate to create something new.

“You know that that’s what’s great about jazz–the way that they play the song will be different than the way somebody tomorrow will play the song because it’ll be their own,” Stryker said. “Who’s ever playing it, their personality comes through in the music.” 

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Jazz guitarist Dave Stryker performs with UTEP musicians