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Spyro Gyra: The Rhinebeck Sessions

Read "The Rhinebeck Sessions" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

In 2014, the Buffalo, NY band Spyro Gyra will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Indeed, a remarkable feat. Well-known for cross- pollinating contemporary jazz with jazz-fusion, the musicians merge an amenable game plan with engaging melodies and largely buoyant grooves amid a sense of bravado, stemming from their formidable chops and intense improv segments. The group locks into a bevy of spunky motifs, complete with tuneful hooks and pumping rhythms. They delve into jazz-funk, Latin and mainstream jazz, along with a ...

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Spyro Gyra: Down the Wire

Read "Down the Wire" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

It's been 30 years since Spyro Gyra released their one and only crossover hit, “Morning Dance." Changes in how decisions are made as to what gets played on the radio pretty much guarantee the group will not score another; that's unfortunate, because they continue to make eye-opening, jaw-dropping music. Down the Wire is a set of 11 new songs, all composed by members of the group: Jay Beckenstein, saxophones; Julio Fernandez, guitars; Tom Schuman, keyboards; Scott Ambush, bass; ...

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Spyro Gyra: A Night Before Christmas

Read "A Night Before Christmas" reviewed by Jeff Winbush

In any major artist's discography are some stock entries besides the usual studio releases. There's also the live album, the greatest hits album (even if the artist only had one or none) and the inevitable Christmas album.Why Spyro Gyra felt the urge to release A Night Before Christmas, their album of Christmas songs, is a question best answered by Jay Beckenstein, the saxophonist and original member who's been the guiding light of the band for over 30 years. ...

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Spyro Gyra: A Night Before Christmas

Read "A Night Before Christmas" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

'Twas A Night Before Christmas, and all through the land, everyone was listening ... to a world-famous band. With apologies to Clement Moore, the title of Spyro Gyra's first all-out holiday release delivers on its promise of good cheer. Founded in the mid-'70s by Jay Beckenstein and Jeremy Wall, Spyro Gyra has consistently remained among the most popular and forward-thinking instrumental groups. Its music has crossed the boundaries of fusion, pop, Latin, Brazilian, African and various shades ...

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Spyro Gyra: Good to Go-Go

Read "Good to Go-Go" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

In a way, Spyro Gyra is the Steely Dan of jazz. For most of their years, The Dan was Donald Fagen, Walter Becker and an ever-changing lineup of session musicians. Spyro Gyra started in similar fashion, with saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Jeremy Wall fronting a band they called Tuesday Night Jams. The duo performed on Long Island on Tuesdays with a rotating cast of sidemen. Later joined by teenage keyboardist Tom Schuman, they became Spyro Gyra--a name that began ...

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Spyro Gyra: Wrapped in a Dream

Read "Wrapped in a Dream" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

When people say “one-hit wonder, the last thing that comes to mind is an act that's been around for three decades, recorded some 25 albums (not counting compilations), and has legions of fans worldwide. Yet, that's what Spyro Gyra is--the wonder being that one of contemporary jazz's most popular acts has only one hit song: “Morning Dance. Since then, the group has delivered such diverse albums as Alternating Currents (1985), Three Wishes (1992) and Original Cinema (2003), as well as ...

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Spyro Gyra: Modern Times

Read "Modern Times" reviewed by Dave Hughes

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 ...

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Spyro Gyra: Got the Magic

Read "Got the Magic" reviewed by Dave Hughes

On their 22nd album, it's clear that Spyro Gyra has stillGot the Magic. The compositions, performances, and production values are as dependable as ever, but this time around leader/producer Jay Beckenstein brought in some fresh production and composition help in the persons of Chuck Loeb (six of the eleven selections), Jeff Beal and Jason Miles (one each). Loeb's tracks do steer Spyro Gyra a little bit in the direction of smooth jazz, but this is still definitely identifiable ...

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Spyro Gyra: Road Scholars

Read "Road Scholars" reviewed by Robert Spencer

Hold onto your hats, friends: the hotly anticipated first-ever live album in the 20-year history of Spyro Gyra, contemporary jazz legends, is here! Road Scholars is a sampling of the band's 1997 tour celebrating their twentieth release (last year's 20/20 ) in as many years. Has it really been this long? Pop Road Scholars into your changer and you'll feel like you're right back in the Carter Years, ready to boogie. Of course, these folks' grooves are state-of-the-art, but smoothville ...

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Spyro Gyra: 20/20

Read "20/20" reviewed by Dave Hughes

This is Spyro Gyra's twentieth album in twenty years. Prior to listening to this album, I decided to listen to all of their previous albums in sequence. This enjoyable experience really impressed upon me how consistently excellent this band has been throughout its life. Some personnel have changed (only saxophonist / leader Jay Beckenstein and keyboard whiz Tom Schuman have remained constant) but the character of the group has remained. The material has also grown, almost imperceptibly, from the relatively ...


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