November 1999

Spryo Gyra
Got the Magic
Windham Hill

Twenty-two albums into their amazingly successful career, the workhorses of Spyro Gyra still have a few surprises up their sleeves. For Got the Magic, saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and company enlisted the assistance of Chuck Loeb, who as producer/collaborator on a number of tracks, helps punch up and re-define the band's signature sound. Tunes like the driving acoustic-threaded "Sierra" give Beckenstein's musing leads space to grow-lending a feeling of bright optimism and hope. Another Loeb-produced piece, "Silk and Satin," also benefits from this attention to detail-with an unexpected brass swagger background and offbeat snaps feeding its '70s Steely Dan flavor. Other highlights spotlight creative arrangements-a sprightly-lithe Brazilian feel makes "Springtime Laughter" (featuring guest vocalist Basia in some fun elastic interplay with Beckenstein's sax) a charming mood painting, and "Havana Moonlight" crackles with percussion and multi-threaded guitar play. There are moments of more groove-driven electronica ("If You Will") here as well, but for the most part, Spyro Gyra's magic is in continuing to find unique ways to transcend the typical.

Originally published in November 1999
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