The superior jams, serenades, and witty hooks just keep on coming with these guys. Exactly as their promo sheet exclaims: The entity (I’d say phenomenon) known as Spyro Gyra is a marathon runner in the arena of contemporary jazz. The masters of longevity with consistent quality offer yet another masterpiece with Good to Go Go. Always refreshing, always original, Jay Beckenstein and company again seek and find ways to satisfy the appetite of those of us who crave ingenuity in smooth jazz. This is the band’s 26th release (fifth with Heads Up) following the Grammy nominated 2006 release, Wrapped in a Dream, for Best Pop Instrumental Album.
On this release, the group adds a new face in Trinidadian drummer/percussionist Bonny B. His contributions are another refreshing ingredient in this mix of superior sound. Andy Narell and his steel pans are here, also (check out the Caribbean "Jam Up" and the very up-tempo "Island Time," two of my favorites here). Scott Ambush’s bass is as sharp and supportive as Bonny B’s drums, Julio Fernandez’ guitar, and Tom Schuman’s keys as they each draw the electric energy from one another. Beckenstein’s sax, of course, benefits from all this and his own stratospheric elegance. Of particular note, besides the aforementioned island cuts enhanced by Narell, are tunes like "Along For the Ride," a glidy, slidy stroll punctuated by Beckenstein’s poetry-in-motion sax work, as well as "Wassup" (the gang just kicks off a funky, hearty, party here!), "Easy Street," a bold yet smooth up-tempo piece with tight, pronounced percussion work, the oh-so-melodic and silky "A Winter Tale," and the funky, snazzy title cut with Bobby B laying down some serious snaps and pops.
The group also makes a most noble gesture on this album by dedicating it to the memory of the recently departed jazz great Michael Brecker, who will be certainly missed by all.
Imagine a world of jazz without Spyro Gyra. Gives you the creeps, doesn’t it? Let’s all collectively pray that these masterminds will be with us for many years to come. Keep it up, guys. We’re all ears!