Though entitled "Incognito," Spyro Gyra's latest album isn't any more faceless than some of the band's early recordings. It is, unfortunately, a lot less revealing than last year's "Freetime." As always, the music is served sunny side up: Inviting melodies, varied rhythms and a dozen or so guest artists -- including Tom Scott, Toots Thielemans and Richard Tee -- all conspire to make "Incognito" state-of-the-art fusion music.
Unlike "Freetime," however, which remains the band's most ambitious and jazz- oriented album to date, "Incognito" offers little more than an abundance of pleasant refrains. Whether it's keyboard player Tom Schuman's tired funk on "Last Exit" or Jay Beckenstein's wistful Mangione-like musings on "Old San Juan," the music is aimed at fusion's rockier side.
Where "Freetime" often stretched the band's horizons and pushed their music into unfamiliar territory, "Incognito" simply stretches the playing time. The title track is saddled with a long plodding vamp, and even the best pieces -- Jeremy Wall's "Oasis" and "Sueno" -- fail to rise above their melodies. Spyro Gyra isn't really traveling incognito this time around, just traveling light. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM SPYRO GYRA -- Incognito (MCA 5368). THE SHOW SPYRO GYRA, Sunday at 8 and 11 at the Bayou.