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Spyro Gyra: Breakout (1986) LP Review

by December 18, 2015

Label: Amherst (B000001O7S)

Track List

1)    Bob Goes To The Store
2)    Freefall
3)    Doubletake
4)    Breakout
5)    Body Wave
6)    Whirlwind
7)    Swept Away
8)    Guiltless


This is my favorite Spyro Gyra release (followed closely by Freetime) of the 1980's. This is also my first (exclusive) LP review as I didn't really start buying CD's (or own a CD player) until 1987.

Audio Quality

Breakout was the second Spyro Gyra release recorded in their very own Bear Tracks recording studio. Spyro Gyra actually made a really fun music video out of Bob Goes To The Store, a hard-driving jazz-rock tune with a great bass solo. I had a VHS copy of it years ago until my VCR “ate” it (bummer). Whirlwind is one of my all-time favorite Spyro Gyra tune; it has a fantastic Latin groove and could almost be considered a mallet (vibraphone/marimba) feature. I think Body Wave is one of those tunes that was originally recorded for a different release but (for whatever reason) found its way onto this one. I've run into this before as it usually manifests itself as a track that either:

1)    Sounds different from all the others
2)    Contains different personnel.

In this case, Body Wave almost sounds like it was “left over” from the previous album (Alternating Currents). With that in mind, I gave this album an audio quality rating of “5” in spite of the poor dynamic range present on that cut. The only track I don't really care much for is the title cut Breakout, which happened to get a digital re-mix when it was issued on CD (and I still don't like it).


This release was (and still is) proof that great production values have the ability to transcend the media format. A big plus for me is the fact that the drums and percussion sound great on this album, making it an excellent demo disk back in the day. Full disclosure: I have heard the CD version of Breakout, and I honestly can't tell the difference between that and the LP (at least on my equipment—see list below).

Review Ratings for Spyro Gyra: Breakout

  • Audio Quality     5
  • Features (liner notes)    4
  • Overall    5

Reference Equipment

Yamaha DSP-A1 Natural Sound A/V Amplifier (Stereo Mode)

Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Reference LD Player

Bang & Olufsen TX2 Turntable with MMC-3 Cartridge

Polk Monitor 10B Speakers (x2)


About the author:
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Stanton was born and raised in Kansas City, where he was exposed to the rich culture of jazz at a very young age. He's a drummer and an electrical engineer and loves to review jazz music for us.

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