Spyro Gyra 50th Anniversary Tour

Spyro Gyra 50th Anniversary – An Evening With:

You might think that Spyro Gyra’s leader and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein might welcome a break in its 45+ years of non-stop, year round performances. After all, much of his adult life has been centered around the recording and performing activities of this now legendary group. Renowned bass player Will Lee once referred to the ensemble as a “well oiled road machine” as a tribute to their daunting schedule, bringing their music to fans around the globe.

Fans of the band are familiar with the group’s rise to international prominence from humble beginnings in Buffalo, New York. That’s when a few area working musicians arranged for a weekly gig of playing less commercial music in a local club on everyone’s night off. So humble a beginning, there was no name for the band so they were only known as “Tuesday Night Jazz Jam”. Soon the word got around and the core group was joined by many of the city’s musicians to come and have some fun. And customers started showing up, too, prompting the club owner to press Beckenstein for a band name for the club’s new sign. Beckenstein offered up this late night, tipsy answer, “You can call it ‘spirogyra’”, an algae that he had studied once. The next week, he came back and there it was, misspelling and all, and so it began in 1974.

Fast forward to the band having logged over 10,000 shows on six continents, having released 35 albums garnering platinum and gold records along the way and here they are, once again looking forward. Speaking of the band’s return to live audiences, Beckenstein admits, “It’s been a long time since we played. We’ll do some fan favorites but we’re a bunch of wanderers by nature. We have a relatively short attention span as a band and we always will want to be doing our favorites too. That’s all I know right now. But it will be happy. We will be happy.”

With respect to the long term future for a band with a 50th anniversary not too far off, Beckenstein allows, “As long as I can perform at a high-level, I would never think of retiring. But I can’t tell you what it would be like if I was to have to continue as a lesser version of myself. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet. So all I am thinking about right now is that I can’t wait to see the people again.”

Spyro Gyra 50th Anniversary Tour