Spyro Gyra - Original Cinema

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Heads Up
Catalog Number: 3074
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:23:00

This is the second release for Spyro Gyra on the Telarc affiliated Heads Up label. This format is a SACD hybrid that plays on all SACD and CD players. The 6-channel discrete surround (DSD) or multi-channel sound is compatible only with the new SACD players. Even though I did not listen to this CD on the newer equipment, I did notice a clarity and brightness in the sound otherwise not found in regular digital CD format.

Original Cinema is the latest offering from jazz-fusion pioneers Spyro Gyra. They may not sound like the trailblazers that they were 1976 when they broke onto the scene with their brand of original and unusual fusion, but they most certainly have plenty to offer the discerning jazz lover today. They sound wonderful, although the once groundbreaking fusion sound that made them special has changed; it is still fusion, just with a different mellower feel. They are more of a funky contemporary and smooth jazz outfit now featuring the occasional rock-like guitar licks. Even so, there is plenty to celebrate here as this recording offers up a generous cross section of musical diversity.

They have an infectious and catchy rhythm ("Bump It Up" and "Extrovertical") as a solid base to work from in each track. With the help of several outstanding guest musicians, their core sound is changed and accentuated with such standout players such as Andy Narell, one of the world's most prolific steel drum players. There is an underlying current in their characteristic river of sound that helps with defining the grand scheme of things, and that is the additional musicians. Narell and fellow percussionist David Charles, Mino Cinelu and Marc Qui?ones, lend a tasteful down to earth funky rhythmic element to the music. It is like going away to distant lands to experience different cultures. Dave Samuels and his vibraphone, which adds a touch of class to the mix, is also a welcome addition. I need not understate the importance of the main players though; they make this musical cornucopia function. Jay Beckenstein's saxophone is the archetypal instrument that every composition stems from. His playing is so commanding that it stands out and shines proudly waiting for accompaniment, and the band would be foolish not to allow him to take the lead. This does not underscore the rest of the band by any means; they are just as important to the outcome of each track as he is.

I found it very difficult to put this album on the shelf. I listened several times with great pleasure. There are not lot of albums I have heard in the past that I actually think of playing on a regular basis, like The Yellowjackets irresistible Samurai Samba or the incomparable duo of Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour on the classic Latin jazz mix Harlequin. Few albums have that special magic that draws me in like a magnet; this album did that for me. In the end, the fact that Spyro Gyra no longer plays jazz-fusion as they once did really did not matter. This great album will help everyone forget all of that quickly, except for diehard fusion folks that probably stopped listening to their music once they changed their style anyway. Now this album is offered in a great new format so the person with the advanced stereo equipment can enjoy it even more, and those that do not can enjoy it just as much with what they have, which makes it that much more appealing to the music connoisseur in all of us.

Another note of interest that I feel is worth mentioning is that all the members of the band had a hand in the production of this album as well, which is a credit to their many years of experience and know how in the recording studio.

Bump It Up (4:52) / Extrovertical (6:21) / Dream Sequence (5:01) / Party Of Seven (4:51) / Big Dance Number (3:27) / Film Noir (6:12) / Close-Up (3:47) / Cape Town Love (5:17) / Handheld (4:01) / Funky Tina (5:17) / Getaway (4:11) / Calle Ocho (5:30) / Flashback (3:36)

Scott Ambush - bass
Jay Beckenstein - saxophone
Joel Rosenblatt - drums
Tom Schuman - keyboards
Julio Fernandez - guitar


Andy Narell - steel drums
David Charles - percussion
Mino Cinelu - percussion
Marc Quiñones - percussion
Dave Samuels -vibraphone

Spyro Gyra (1976)
Collection (1978)
Morning Dance (1979)
Catching The Sun (1980)
Carnaval (1980)
Freetime (1981)
Incognito (1982)
Access All Areas [live] (1983)
City Kids (1983)
Alternating Currents (1985)
Breakout (1986)
Stories Without Words (1987)
Rites Of Summer (1988)
Point Of View (1989)
Fast Forward (1990)
Three Wishes (1992)
Dreams Beyond Control (1993)
Love & Other Obsessions (1995)
Heart Of The Night (1996)
20/20 (1997)
Road Scholars [live] (1997)
The Best Of Spyro Gyra: The First Ten Years (1997)
Got The Magic (1999)
In Modern Times (2001)
The Very Best Spyro Gyra (2002)
Original Cinema (2003)
The Deep End (2004)
Wrapped In A Dream (2006)
Good To Go-Go (2007)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin US

Added: June 1st 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website: www.spyrogyra.com
Hits: 740
Language: english


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