128

Spyro Gyra: Modern Times

By

Sign in to view read count
Spyro Gyra: Modern Times 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

Title: Modern Times | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Heads Up International


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Port Bou" CD/LP/Track Review Port Bou
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "E.S.T. Symphony" CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "The Company I Keep" CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Nine Thoughts For One Word" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Thoughts For One Word
by John Ephland
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Echoes Of Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Echoes Of Europe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.