It’s been six long years since we had new music from jazz quintet SPYRO GYRA but with ‘Vinyl Tap’ they make a welcome and very intriguing return. You see the concise 9 tracker is something quite different for the band. After something like 45 years of music making (mostly original) they decided to make a covers album… but not just any covers album. No… they thought the time was ripe to offer their versions of songs that they all listened to on vinyl in their formative years.
Thus the track list is stuffed with rock, soul and pop classics – things like the Beatles’ ‘You Got To Hide Your Love Away’, War’s ‘Cisco Kid’, the Doobie Brother’s ‘What A Fool Believes’, Squeeze’s ‘Tempted’ and Oliver Nelson’s jazz standard ‘Stolen Moments.’
Don’t, though, expect straight takes on these classics. Beckenstein and the boys have taken the familiar and had fun… changing tempos and textures, rhythms and tones and adding extensions and solos where you might not expect them. Case in point is the opening cut, ‘Secret Agent Mash’ which melds the PF Sloan written/Johnny Rivers recorded ‘Secret Agent Man’ with Sonny Rollins’ main title theme to the movie ‘Alfie’. Then there’s a Latino version of Cream’s ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’, a country-tinged, mournful reading of Blind Faith’s ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’… and more.
The 9 track CD is out now Amherst Records and, of course, there’s a vinyl version too… a limited edition, 180 gram clear vinyl disc with a full colour inner sleeve and jacket.