As one of the earliest and most popular purveyors of what came to be known as "smooth jazz," Spyro Gyra was an easy target for the jazz police as that format reached airplay ascendancy in the 1990s. Got the Magic shows the many strengths of the band but also serves up a couple of opportunities for the critics to take a swing at their radio-friendly commercial instincts. Mid- to up-tempo concoctions like "Silk and Satin" and "Havana Moonlight" make for some very pleasant listening, and the addition of old bandmate Dave Samuels' vibes on "Breezeway" and "Sierra" brings back the sound that attracted the group's audience in the first place. However, "Springtime Laughter," while a well-performed vocal by Basia, would have been a catchy contemporary jazz piece without the silly lyrics. And why is it necessary to have tacked-on background vocalists repeating a song's title as on "Love Comes" and the title track?
Still, Spyro Gyra's music has more depth and kick than most of their brothers and sisters in the smooth or contemporary genre. Jay Beckenstein once again delivers some fine saxophone playing, Tom Schuman lays down nice keyboard textures, and guitarist Julio Fernandez enlivens several pieces with his tasty fretwork (and Benson-like scatting on "Sierra"). Got the Magic is full of accessible melodies and polished playing, adding up to a very enjoyable pop-jazz outing.