Spyro Gyra: 20/20

Twenty albums in 20 years. That’s what 20/20 represents. And proves, Spyro Gyra has both endurance and staying power. The band pioneered an upbeat musical fusion of contemporary jazz, rock, funk and international beats. Countless bands have copped their sound, but with Jay Beckenstein blowing saxes, Spyro Gyra stands apart from its imitators. Jay’s bright yet soulful tone has a personality all its own.

On 20/20 players groove through a breezy set featuring a fair amount of Latin flavorings. For James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” they inflect a hint of country twang. The most intriguing tune is the title cut, which takes on a melodic riff reminiscent of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” The interpretation is progressive, a bit of a surprise from this outfit. On the rest of this disc, the musicians maintain their time-tested formula as smooth melodic rhythm-meisters.