Title - 'Vinyl Tap'
Artist - Spyro Gyra
Well, for those not in the know, Spyro Gyra is an American jazz fusion band that was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1974.
The band's music combines jazz, R&B, funk, and pop music and got its name from Spirogyra; a genus of green algae which founder Jay Beckenstein had learned about in college.
Over the years the band has released over 30 albums and sold over 10 million copies in the process.
Now the seminal contemporary jazz band mines a collection of vinyl classics for their first album in six years on the quite delicious-to-the-ears Vinyl Tap.
So the story goes, the five members of Spyro Gyra were laughing and having fun in the recording studio where creativity flowed as the band revisited the songs that inspired them from their youth; when they were themselves listening to music on vinyl.
Ergo, that artistic fount was spun into Vinyl Tap, the bands brand new album of inventive jazz covers from pop favorites from the vinyl era, that comes out October 11th, 2019 via Amherst Records.
1. 'Secret Agent Mash'
2. 'Sunshine Of Your Love'
3. 'Can’t Find My Way Home'
4. 'What A Fool Believes'
5. 'The Cisco Kid'
6. 'You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away'
8. 'Stolen Moments'
9. 'Carry On'
Featuring Jay Beckenstein (saxophone), Tom Schuman (keyboards), Scott Ambush (bass), Julio Fernández (guitars), and Lionel Cordew (drums), with a distinctive wide range of ages and musical upbringings coming to the fore, luckily for us it all came harmoniously together to bring us this album of diverse, yet cultured new material.
“My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me,” says group leader Jay Beckenstein. “I’ve always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music, has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words."
"Whether it’s touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there’s this beauty in music that’s not connected to sentences."
"It’s very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they’re able to share that with us."
The album (which is not only brilliantly named, but features great cover art) opens with the upbeat drums and sax of 'Secret Agent Mash,' which Beckenstein himself selected to do so. A foot-tappin' mashup of Johnny Rivers' 'Secret Agent Man' and 'Alfie’s Theme,' that's backed by the funky slap bass of a virtually unrecognizable 'Sunshine Of Your Love' (Cream), and the first single going to radio, a westernized Blind Faith's 'Can’t Find My Way Home.'
A simmering take on 'What A Fool Believes' (complete with mid-set swing vibe) is up next and is backed effortlessly by both the finger-snappin' deep soul funk of War's 'The Cisco Kid' and then a lo-fi take on the Beatles' 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.'
This quite masterful album then rounds out with my own personal favorite, a take on Squeeze's always-brilliant-to-hear 'Tempted' (which here is brought in by Schuman's key work), Oliver Nelson's on fire cut 'Stolen Moments,' and then a buoyantly sanguine rendition of 'Carry On.'
“This is the first record we’ve done where we have allowed ourselves to do other people’s material full throttle,” continues Beckenstein. “That is not to say in any way that we tried to copy what other people did, but it was really great to reach outside of our writing capabilities for inspiration for us to take off on."
"And that’s what this album is about,” he adds, with a sly, yet knowingly cheeky smile.
Amazon CD Purchase Link
Amazon Vinyl Purchase Link