128

Spyro Gyra: Modern Times

By

Sign in to view read count
As on many of their previous releases, Spyro Gyra’s 23rd album both capitalizes on their longevity (the five members have been together nine years now, as opposed to the frequently-changing rosters of the past), and breaks new ground – both stylistically and by debuting on the talent-rich Heads Up label.

The disc opens with three up-tempo tunes right out of the familiar Spyro Gyra mold. Then new ground is broken with Scott Ambush’s semi-dark composition “The River Between” - it’s like an evocative trip up the Amazon. Ambush, on bass, shares the melody duties with Beckenstein. Next up is a funkier, back-beat heavy homage, “Groovin’ For Grover,” although Beckenstein wisely maintains his own voice on soprano rather than trying to evoke Washington’s signature style. Exotic Cuban-flavored rhythms and backgound horns propel “Florida Straits,” while the album reaches it’s funkiest apex on “Feelin’ Fine Pt. 2,” with sassy, crisp bass and drums, choked guitar, and staccato sax lines. Next, the programs gets earthy with the slow, soulful groove of “East River Blue.” Beckenstein and keyboard whiz Tom Schuman (who has composed some of the band’s most in-depth works) collaborate on a sweet, gentle ballad called “Your Touch.” Composer/keyboardist Jeremy Wall, an original band member who has contributed at least one composition to every release, adds the cheerful, horn-driven “Lucky Bounce” this time around. Guest trombonist Andrew Lippman adds welcome variety to the sonic landscape with a solo on the closer "Planet J," ably supported by the No Sweat Horns (frequent guests on Spyro Gyra’s studio recordings).

Spyro Gyra is now 23-for-23. Pretty hard to beat that! While this CD may not, some day, stand out as one of the high points of their lengthy discography, it’s an excellent addition to their growing legacy. (Heads Up HUCD 3061)

Track Listing: After Hours; Feelin

Personnel: Jay Beckenstein

| Record Label: Heads Up International | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Petite Afrique CD/LP/Track Review Petite Afrique
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Soul Garden CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read The Authorized Bang Collection CD/LP/Track Review The Authorized Bang Collection
by Doug Collette
Published: April 29, 2017
Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Illegal Crowns" CD/LP/Track Review Illegal Crowns
by John Sharpe
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Live InTokyo" CD/LP/Track Review Live InTokyo
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Caipi" CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "ScratchBop" CD/LP/Track Review ScratchBop
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: March 14, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!