Acclaimed jazz guitarist Vic Juris died on December 31, 2019, at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston at the age of 66 after a six-month battle with liver cancer. This Sunday, September 20, from 4-5 p.m., fellow West Orange guitarist Dave Stryker (they lived on the same street) will give a nod to his late friend while also performing some of his own material at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s Virtual Social, which can be viewed on the NJJS Facebook page (NJJS).
Stryker spoke with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle about the Sunday's virtual event that's made passible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Born in Jersey City, Juris lived most of his life in North Jersey. When he wasn’t on the road, he could be found playing somewhere in the region. “I always have gigs,” he said in 2017. “I always make sure that I’m playing, and that there’s a challenge for me.”
Stryker told Doyle he's looking forward to the event in honor of his neighbor.
"None of us are here forever but it's what we do while we're here and he (Juris) was a beautiful guy. We had a lot of fun together and a lot of laughs. He was one of the greatest, not just guitar players, but musicians that I've had the pleasure of knowing. We're going to do some guitar playing (from Stryker's basement). I've going to have a guy by the name of Mike Moreno, one of the great young players who was a student of Vic's at the New School and took some lessons with me as well, he's going to join me."
Ever since Dave Stryker arrived in New Jersey from his native Omaha some 40 years ago, he has been ubiquitous on area stages and in clubs. Having performed with such notables as organist Jack McDuff and saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, among others, he has several album credits as a writer and arranger, some 50 as an album sideman, and nearly as many under his own name.
Dave Stryker 's Blue Soul with Bob Mintzer and the WDR Big Band, spent three weeks in late July and early August at Number 1 on the Jazz Week weekly jazz charts.
Stryker says he feels fortunate because so many musicians have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, but he's been able to keep his teaching career going during the crisis.
Stryker teaches at Indiana University, Rutgers University and Montclair State University.
You can find out more about how Stryker has kept the music going during the pandemic by checking out the entire conversation at the top of the page.