Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Spyro Gyra - Alternating Currents (1985)


Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.

For this, Spyro Gyra's eighth studio album, the band featured a new guitarist (Julio Fern├índez replaced Chet Catallo) but the band doesn't miss a beat. The group was at its peak in the decade ca. 1978-87 and this falls squarely within that timeline. In the '80s, I pretty much bought every SG album as soon as possible after it was released and I'm sure this was no exception.  Like all SG albums from this time, the core members and composers in the band, saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Tom Schuman, are on top of their game producing Latin-flavored smooth jazz that borders on instrumental pop music. Guitarist Fern├índez is a fantastic soloist and a welcome addition.  Definitely in the top half of the 23 Spyro Gyra CDs I own.  ;-)   Seriously, it easily makes the top 5.  (Since this is the final review of SG CDs currently in my collection, I briefly considered ranking the albums 1-23, but figured my head might explode during such an attempt, so I'd like to avoid that if I could.)

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #66
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #3
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #41
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #79    

Tracks:  The opener, Shakedown, is a solid tune followed by my favorite cut on the album, the title track.  Love the pulsating marimba underneath the syncopated staccato melody.  The slower songs, Taking The Plunge (For Jennifer) and the beautiful jazz waltz I Believe In You, are also good and a return to the late '70s sound of the group.  The only track to skip is the weak funk fusion jam, Binky's Dream No. 6.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  The summer of 1985 was one of my best summers ever and this was part of the soundtrack.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Down The Wire (2009) Point Of View (1989)
Good To Go-Go (2007) Stories Without Words (1987)
Wrapped In A Dream (2006) Breakout (1986)
Original Cinema (2003) Access All Areas (1984)
In Modern Times (2001) City Kids (1983)
Got The Magic (1999) Incognito (1982)
Road Scholars (1998) Freetime (1981)
20/20 (1997) Carnaval (1980)
Love & Other Obsessions (1995)Catching The Sun (1980)
Dreams Beyond Control (1993)Morning Dance (1979)
Fast Forward (1990)Spyro Gyra (1978)

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