Spyro Gyra

Original Cinema

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A slightly sharper edge surfaces in Spyro Gyra's second effort for the Telarc-affiliated Heads Up label. While their performance still tilts more toward easy listening than searing fusion, there's a bit more punch than usual in the upbeat tracks. Frontman Jay Beckenstein cultivates a slightly grittier sound by concentrating largely on tenor sax, while a trio of guest percussionists adds dimension to the beat on several numbers, especially the festive "Cape Town Love." The tour de force performance is probably "Flashback," largely because Beckenstein goes it alone, blowing some eloquent, Wayne Shorter-style lines against his own more than serviceable pre-recorded piano accompaniment. The filmic theme, reflected in the titles of several tracks, is more affectation than substance; in truth, Original Cinema extends rather than detours from the path laid down for a quarter century by this smooth jazz juggernaut.

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