One of the most beloved fusion bands in the world, Spyro Gyra continues to find the sweet spot between jazz, funk, and new age music. The multiple Grammy winning quintet hasn’t lost any of its swagger more than 40 years after their founding.
Coming out of the vibrant Buffalo music scene of the 70’s, Spyro Gyra was started by saxophonist Jay Beckenstein in 1974, growing out of local informal jazz jam sessions. Their self-released eponymous debut record gained word of mouth popularity and eventually became listed as one of Billboard’s Top 40 Jazz Albums of 1978. The follow-up, 1979’s Morning Dance, shot the band up the charts and into the mainstream, surging on the strength of its accessible, dance-inducing style. Throughout the 80’s the band rode a wave of popularity and commercial success, including a string of Grammy nominations. The group went through several line-up changes as their success increased, but the constant of Beckenstein and keyboardist Tom Schuman helped keep them grounded. Spyro Gyra ended the decade as Billboard’s most successful jazz artist of the 1980s.
The band continued to release records and tour the country (and world) at a breakneck pace throughout the last two decades. Their most recent album, The Rhinebeck Sessions, found the band experimenting with their process, writing and recording the whole record in one giant improvisatory studio session. A daring approach that reinvigorated the band and their fanbase. The current lineup is: Jay Beckenstein, saxophones; Tom Schuman, keyboards; Julio Fernandez, guitars; Scott Ambush, bass; Lee Pearson, drums
‘There is really no band out there that can produce a sense of pure joy as consistently and as often as Spyro Gyra’ ‘ Jazz Times