Spirit Fingers feat. Greg Spero, “maps” (2018): Something Else! video premiere

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Within the realm of fusion jazz, Greg Spero is rapidly moving toward the forefront of a new generation of virtuosic players carrying forward the original spirit of the genre and keeping it from turning boring and flaccid. The 32-year-old piano wunderkind leads a quartet of other wunderkinds aptly called Spirit Fingers and this LA-based troupe thrives on pushing musicianship to its limits.

That envelope-pushing is all over their self-titled debut album from Shanachie, a complete product of Greg Spero’s advanced compositions, elite-level instrumental prowess and a band that is really, really tight.

So yes, we’re premiering a video for the song “maps” from their stimulating new LP, but as good as it is, the studio version just doesn’t do them enough justice. The main takeaway from the footage above is that Spirit Fingers has the chops to pull off their musical acrobatics on stage. Captured live at Los Angeles’ LP/Tiny Room Studios, the Herbie Hancock-mentored Spero is joined by bassist Hadrien Feraud (Chick Corea), guitarist Dario Chiazzolino (Dave Liebman) and drummer Mike Mitchell (Stanley Clarke).

Greg Spero religiously sticks to his four chord pattern, letting the rest of his band play balls out. And boy, do they.

On the surface, this might seem like a straightforward composition, but that’s a clever deception. Using a sick 20/16 time signature, there are actually a couple of rhythms going on at once perfectly syncopating together, and Feraud and Chiazzolino effortlessly weave between those patterns. Dazzling unison lines between bass and guitar bracket show-stopping showcases by each of the two along with Mitchell. Taking the seven minute studio track and stretching it nearly twice as long, they were nowhere near running out of ideas when the song ends abruptly as if someone pulled the plug on the stereo, leaving us to ponder the unresolved state in which the song was left.

Spirit Fingers is now on sale via Amazon, Apple iTunes and all the other major outlets.

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