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Spyro Gyra: Morning Dance (1979) LP Review

by April 03, 2016
Label: Amherst (B000001O7W)

Track List

1)     Morning Dance
2)     Jubilee
3)     Rasul
4)     Song for Lorraine
5)     Starburst
6)     Heliopolis
7)     It Doesn't Matter
8)     Little Linda
9)     End of Romanticism

Morning Dance was the breakout recording for Spyro Gyra, and my favorite release (followed closely by Catching The Sun) of the 1970's. Spyro Gyra (and co-founder/composer Jay Beckenstein), will forever be associated with the title track from this album. This wildly successful follow-up to their debut album (simply titled Spyro Gyra) was eventually certified RIAA Platinum (meaning it sold over 1 million copies). For the record (no pun intended), this is really an LP—not CD—review.

Audio Quality

I first met Spyro Gyra as a wide-eyed high school drummer/percussionist in a large record store (remember those) in Kansas City shortly after this album's release. It was their first big national tour and they were already preparing to go into the studio for their next album, Catching The Sun. I later framed the album cover to Morning Dance (along with a picture disc of the same) which they all signed that day. They were gracious in receiving praise and you could tell they were destined for greatness. My favorite tracks are Morning Dance (of course) and Heliopolis; the use of horns/synths and layer percussion on the latter was a sign of the sophisticated arrangements to come over the years. The saxophone arrangements and catchy melody on Song for Lorraine are also classic Spyro Gyra. The only tracks I don't really like are Little Linda and End of Romanticism. In fact, the final track was rare on a Spyro Gyra release in that it was not penned by one of the band's permanent members.


The 1970's were a vibrant time for instrumental jazz, with artists like Chuck Mangione, Maynard Ferguson and Herb Alpert (in addition to Spyro Gyra) all charting Top 40 singles. Beckenstein has candidly admitted in interviews that he never expected anything beyond Spyro Gyra's self-titled debut album, which was recorded and distributed “on their own nickel”; the unexpected success of that album resulted in a major label record contract complete with “more money than they could imagine” to produce and release Morning Dance—and the rest is jazz history. While Spyro Gyra debuted in the shadow of super-groups like Weather Report and Return To Forever, they were just as successful commercially, ultimately out-lasting them all!


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