289

Spyro Gyra: Road Scholars

Robert Spencer By

Sign in to view read count
Spyro Gyra: Road Scholars 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 has a history and tradition all its own now, and Road Scholars is as good a document of it as any. Messrs. Gyra may be the fountainhead of Mr. G and all his sundry imitators. Here are the masters themselves at work.

Spyro Gyra is (are?) Jay Beckenstein on reeds, Tom Schuman on trademark gurgly keyboards, Julio Fernandez with some Dan-ish (that is, as in "Steely") guitar, Joel Rosenblatt on drums and percussion, and Scott Ambush on bass. Twenty years is a lot of electricity under the bridge, but these guys are none the worse for wear. The crowd is happy, even managing a clap-along during "Breakfast at Igor's." And you can put your minds at ease, Spyro tyros: "Morning Dance" is here in all its glory, as tuneful and catchy as ever. This one deserved to be the hit it was, with Beckenstein and Schuman especially shining.

Otherwise we have the shimmery "Shaker Song," with Schuman's ivories at their most ticklish. "Heart of the Night," "Shanghai Gumbo," "Ariana" and "Daddy's Got a New Girl Now" are perfect specimens of the cheerful, glossy up-tempo funk that Herr Gyra has patented. "Innocent Soul" kicks off with Beckenstein and Schuman finding themselves in Deep Space Nine and soon deciding that it's a pretty darn nice place. "South American Sojourn" has a deft Latin flavor, earning its title smartly. "De la Luz" includes some sweet acoustic licks from Fernandez; "Best Friends," the only studio cut, has some interesting popcorn thingy.

Fans of Señor Gyra and his smooth blend will love Road Scholars.


Title: Road Scholars | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: GRP Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Can't Get Started CD/LP/Track Review Can't Get Started
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Viriditas CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Jorg Schippa's Kiosk CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Soul Trio CD/LP/Track Review Soul Trio
by Anthony Shaw
Published: August 24, 2017
Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Dare To Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare To Be
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "Air and Light and Time and Space" CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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