The entity known as Spyro Gyra is a marathon runner in the arena of contemporary jazz. For more than three decades, moving across a musical landscape marked by increasingly challenging terrain and accelerated change, they have maintained the well-deserved reputation as a viable and highly versatile creative force. Since their earliest recordings in the mid 1970s, they have maintained a fresh approach to their craft by borrowing from a range of sources and distilling them into an unmistakable signature sound. This innovative and eclectic sensibility has earned the band nine GRAMMY nominations overall, and has fueled the sale of 11 million records Including one platinum and two gold records. In the midst of the achievements and accolades, Spyro Gyra keeps moving, having logged over 5,000 high-energy performances in their prestigious and prolific career. The band passes another milestone on this long-distance run with the June 12, 2007, release of Good To Go-Go on Heads Up International. The album is the band's twenty-sixth of their overall career and their fifth release on Heads Up, following on the heels of the GRAMMY nominated 2006 release Wrapped in a Dream (Best Pop Instrumental Album).
Spyro Gyra leader Jay Beckenstein credits the addition of Trinidadian drummer Bonny B with juicing the long-running contemporary jazz band's sound, making it more "live-sounding." Wherever the stimulus came from, Good to Go-Go
is one of the more forceful albums by Beckenstein and company. The drummer's Caribbean-style "Jam Up," featuring Andy Narell on steel drums and Bonny B on vocals, is infectious in a tightly wound way and melodically flavorful. With its modern harmonies, "The Left Band," with Christian Howe's guesting on violin, has an edge most such music lacks. Elsewhere, Spyro Gyra's funk-based sound is boosted by Julio Fernandez's wired guitar and lyrically colored by Tom Schuman's unplugged piano. This is the band's 26th album. Three decades on, it would seem, it is entering a promising new phase. --Lloyd Sachs