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Down The Wire

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 28, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2009 album from the veteran Jazz outfit. Spyro Gyra's leader and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein understands the passion that drives a person and makes life on the wire so appealing. For more than three decades, they have maintained a position at the forefront of modern Jazz by successfully managing not just one, but several feats of creative dexterity. Down The Wire is a snapshot of Spyro Gyra's enduring dedication to that walk...down the wire.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Down the Wire
  2. Unspoken
  3. Not for Nothin'
  4. Island Pond
  5. The Tippin' Point
  6. Ice Mountain
  7. A Flower for Annie Jeanette
  8. La Zona Rosa
  9. What It Is
  10. A Distant Memory
  11. Make It Mine

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 28, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heads Up
  • ASIN: B001VFM0QA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,070 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This aint no "smooth jazz." Spyro Gyra is a group of some of the best musicians on the planet. Sometimes techincal playing ability can leave a recording sterile - full of tonal gymnastics and rythmic rapidfire, but no emotional connection with the listener. Othertimes mediocre playing skills lend themselves better to banal melodies or tiresome covers of popular music (smooth jazz). It is rare to find a group displaying unmatched chops along with great compositional skills wherein the music is heady for music afficianados, yet accessable at the same time. Spyro does this beautifully. One of their best CDs in years. Has hints of some of their finest melodies from the early 80s, but is anchored in a contemprorary groove that speaks to us now. Spyro Gyra is a national treasure and though they've been at this for 30 years, "Down to the Wire" is some of the most youthful output from the group, ever. Run, don't walk. . . . .
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was no coincidence;
the last album of Spyro I have is "Fast Forward" and I always missed that old sound (70s-80s).
Over the years, from time to time I was checking what was new with Spyro, but none those of the albums in the past 15 yrs. were big deal, at least for me...BUT!!!!
Something told me to check if Spyro has something new for release....and the minute I've heard samples from "Down the Wire" I pre-ordered the album. I don't know, it resonated just perfect and the feeling in those 30secs was so crystal clear.
Let me tell you, I was not wrong at all! In fact I'm still surprised it is SOOO GOOOD! It's GREAT! Jay and the guys returned to their roots. This cd sounds like it was written it the early 80s or late 70s, only the production is digital. It is still hard to believe after a lots of so-so albums that came up with something like this!
And there is even RHODES piano on the album! If I have to nag about something it would be about Tom not doing any Rhodes solo, but hey....
If you are a fan of the old Spyro sound you will not go wrog with this jewel!
Jazz & Funk & Spyro at their best!
Enjoy it for many years, I know I will!
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Format: Audio CD
I have most of Spyro Gyra's (SG) discs, and so have heard their panorama of music from earliest to latest. As a former musician and songwriter, I listen to music not only to enjoy, but also to analyze it instrument by instrument from a technical standpoint. IMHO, "The Deep End" (TDE), from a musically technical perspective, stands as SG's masterpiece and absolute best effort; it is one of my favorite 5 albums of all time. "TDE" exhibits SG in fully matured form, sets the standard of contemporary music (call it "Jazz," if you will), and will continue to be relevant 20 years from now. After some good but less than satisfying efforts ever since "TDE," this latest effort, "Down The Wire" (DTW) sounds like SG made a determined effort to return to that standard they reached with "TDE." This latest disc offers SG skillfully fusing sounds reminiscent of their entire history with fresh, contemporary textures. This album must be digested through a headset on a quality mp3 player to fully appreciate. You will be surprised at the subtle nuances you'll hear not normally perceptible on a home stereo. Studio production is excellent. SG is worthy of highest commendation because Beckenstein and crew have boldly refused to sell out to the "smooth jazz" radio crowd but retained their unique sound throughout the years, and have not been afraid to display their robust talent and diverse songwriting abilities. SG (like The Rippingtons) remains hard to categorize (jazz, rock, pop, fusion, etc?) yet easy to recognize, which has been one of this band's most outstanding characteristics. "DTW" is SG's talent running on all cylinders, as the opening track demonstrates! (Scott Ambush flourishes on this record and puts on a veritable bass clinic.) This disc is a must for any serious SG fan.
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Format: Audio CD
Now entering their fourth decade Spyro Gyra have continued to release new music every few years or so. These albums have varied greatly in quality of composition and groove. But they've kept this talented and spirited outfit in the public eye between their best quality recent releases. And this easily qualifies as one of them. Helped along by what wound up to be a very inspired recording session,some of which they recorded on video and is seen here on this album is not only one of the bands best records of recent years but perhaps one of their Top 10 releases ever likely. What really makes it work is not so much that it's any drastic change in style but the band use elements they've always had in their music in ways they never have used them previous to this. And somehow this comes out to be a vital change in direction

One of those defining elements of this album is a strong live flavor. The opening title song and the closer "Make It Mine",the latter of which features a JB/Tower Of Power style rap styled vocal possess the flavor of in-the-groove funk with that collective,stagey quality with few production flourishes. In fact they are two of the funkiest numbers Spyro Gyra ever did. "Not For Nothin" is a bit more of a produced variety of modern funk groove,with plenty of echo everywhere. Aside from involved,elongated perussion and horn driven jazz fusion,with a heavy leaning to the jazz end of it on "A Flower For Anne Jeanette","What It Is" and "Ice Mountain" there are also two unique songs. "The Tippin' Point" is one of the more acoustic jazz oriented sound and honestly it's a very strong composition at that. On "La Zona Rosa" the salsa carinval flavor chimes in,only the marimba sound isn't as obvious so again the sound is different,from bassline to piano solo.
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