I'm currently sitting on 23 of Spyro Gyra's 29 albums so I'm obviously a fan, but this was the 2nd SG album I purchased (the first was Incognito). I consider the early to mid '80s to be the best era for this group, so this album was also one of the first LPs I replaced with a CD and one that gets more playing time than other SG releases. In addition to the core of the group at the time, saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Tom Schuman, we're treated to the performances from other pros like Will Lee, Steve Gadd, Hiram Bullock, Lew Soloff, etc. Good stuff.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #66
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #2
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #70
Tracks: The funk-lite of the lead off title track is my favorite, but I'll listen to all 8. One of the group's best ballads, simply titled A Ballad, is also here. The only track I'm not a fan of is the manic Conversations (note to self: The Manic Conversations would be a great band name).
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: When I was in high school, I subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine, but other than that I had no way of keeping up with new album releases and tours other than the occasional article in the Houston Post. So while I listened to Incognito quite a bit, I had no idea that SG was releasing a new LP in 1983. I remember coming across this LP while rummaging through the old Record Exchange on Westheimer and being absolutely thrilled with my discovery. I'm sure I listened to it three or four times straight through before turning my attention to other purchases of the day. Last time I drove by that location on Westheimer, what was the Record Exchange in 1983 had become a laundromat.
I heard the group perform in October of 1983 at Houston's Kool Jazz Festival in support of this album. These days, I don't think marketing people want to associate jazz music with cigarettes so you haven't seen that sponsorship in a long while. Spyro Gyra opened their portion of the show with the title track from this album. Since I like that song, I was excited they chose that, but the group's percussionist, Gerardo Velez, is such a wild performer (jumping around the stage and whatnot) that the audience laughed at him for a good 2 minutes before calming down. By that time, the tune was half over. Bummer. I bought a concert t-shirt that had "Kool Jazz" written across the front but never wore it to school because I didn't want to have to deal with the drama of a teacher thinking the shirt was inappropriate because it promoted tobacco use.
Previously revisited for the blog: