Love & Other Obsessions

Love & Other Obsessions

by Spyro Gyra



Maybe things were simpler in the '70s, when the birth of what we now call contemporary jazz or pop instrumental really occurred. Long before anyone gave much thought to what to call it, there was one thing we could count on: the fact that a bunch of solid jazz players from Buffalo with a funny band name could dish it up and make it fun. In an industry where the latest sonic trends emerge and disappear in brief flashes of expectation and disappointment, Spyro Gyra's constantly evolving musical vision has made them the most consistent, popular, and enduring of all contemporary jazz ensembles. While their previous effort, the stirring Dreams Beyond Control, aimed for an expansive array of sounds and colors in larger settings, Love & Other Obsessions featured a more focused direction and a definite leaning towards modern R&B and African influences. In an effort to keep things fresh, Beckenstein also chose this time to work with more outside arrangers like Russell Ferrante, Chieli Minucci (of Special EFX), Alex Acuña, and Scott Kreitzer, who contributed the collection's two vocal pieces. Vocals aside, and despite the revised listing of Dave Samuels as a contributing player rather than full-time group member, Spyro is at its best when doing what it does best: adding a practiced oomph to a picture perfect hummability, darting through a few island paradises, returning to the city for the Big Apple vibe, and improvising and rocking where it counts. Most Spyro Gyra collections get off to a trademark rocking start, but this time out, Beckenstein aimed to begin with a smoother mood swing, full of breezy and even romantic subtleties. The saxman's own "Lost and Found" sets such a tone, and founding member Jeremy Wall keeps the hot silk dripping on "Ariana." Then the real fun begins, highlighted by the hooky, playful, decidedly African meets the Caribbean vibe of "Serengeti" (vintage Samuels, naturally), a soulful strut through the diverse humanity along New York's "Third Street," and the aptly titled "Group Therapy." This one is perhaps the disc's most fascinating work, a spontaneous jam session in which each member of the band works out his musical emotions and aggressions in a fun, free-form setting. Everything goes here, from Tom Schuman's spacy synth soloing to Beckenstein gushing some monstrous soprano licks.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/14/1995
Label: Grp Records
UPC: 0011105980821
catalogNumber: 9808

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Spyro Gyra   Primary Artist
Deniece Williams   Vocals
Scott Kreitzer   Flute,Bass Clarinet,Alto Flute,Saxophone
Vaneese Thomas   Vocals
Randy Andos   Trombone,Bass Trombone
Bashiri Johnson   Percussion
Billy Cliff   Vocals,Background Vocals
Barry Danielian   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Russell Ferrante   Keyboards
Keith Fluitt   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Jeremy Wall   Producer
Scott Kreitzer   Arranger,Producer
Jay Beckenstein   Producer
Russell Ferrante   Arranger
Sammy Merendino   drum programming
Chieli Minucci   Arranger
Doug Oberkircher   Engineer
Steve Skinner   drum programming
Larry Swist   Engineer
Jay Berkenstein   Producer

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