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Spryo Gyra

Jazzed Magazine • September 2007What's on Your Playlist? • September 5, 2007

Spryo Gyra

Since the mid-#149;70s, Spryo Gyra’s infectious and danceable take on pop-jazz has made them one of the more successful practitioners of the genre. Skillfully incorporating aspects of RB, rock, and Caribbean music into their sound, the band’s music is lively, infectious, and (significantly) very accessible albums such as Morning Dance, Freetime, and In Modern Times are amongst the most popular jazz releases of the past two decades. Good to Go-Go, the ensemble’s fourth disc for Heads Up, dropped earlier this summer and is being praised as one of their strongest collections to date.

Saxophonist Jay Beckstein founded Spyro Gyra in 1974 and has remained its guiding force in the ensuing three-plus decades, writing much of the group’s material and providing continuity throughout a handful of roster shifts.

1. Kind Of Blue Miles Davis

“What can you say? My two favorite sax players… and Miles. One of greatest records, if not the greatest jazz record, of my lifetime.”

2.Heavy Weather Weather Report

“Inventive, driving, lyrical improvisation. An awesome fusion statement.”

3. Miles Smiles Miles Davis

“Beautiful group improvisations and classic compositions. Another example of Miles’ incredible ability to reinvent himself.”

4.Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite Of Spring) Cleveland Orchestra (cond. Pierre Boulez)

“This is a masterpiece performance of what I think is one of the most important and influential pieces of music of the 20th Century. If you’re a movie lover, you’ve heard its DNA thousands of times.”

5.Let It Be (Naked) The Beatles

“At any time, you could find a classic Beatles album on my playlist. It’s uplifting to realize that it’s still possible to hear these classic recordings with new ears.”

6. Possibilities Herbie Hancock

“Herbie is one of the most open, positive forces in music and this CD shows how his personality and genius inspire genius in others.”

7.Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus – Hal Willner Presents (Various Artists)

“I studied with Charlie Mingus when I was in school and it’s great to hear his music treated so lovingly.”

8. Continuum John Mayer

“There’s always a place for great singer/songwriters, no matter of what generation. This is bare-bones music, yet full of heart.”

9.Brown Street Joe Zawinul

“Joe Zawinul has never stopped being a creative dynamo. This record is pure inventiveness as Joe revisits his own classics.”

10. Little Plastic Castle Ani DiFranco

“I’ve always been impressed by Ani’s ethos, but when my daughter first played me this CD, I couldn’t help but be impressed by her artistic range as well.”

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