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Spryo Gyra: Got the Magic

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.

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