“these… grooves are state-of-the-art” – All About Jazz


In 2024, Jay Beckenstein and band observe the 50th anniversary of what started as a diversion, something that was just for fun (and twenty-five cents at the door). It began inauspiciously when Beckenstein and a few musician friends in Buffalo, NY organized a get-together on their shared night off from working in bands that actually made money. It was a simple, humble idea with a name that was likewise simple and humble, “Tuesday Night Jazz Jam”. 

Fast forward fifty years and this jazz super-group has released over thirty albums, garnering gold and platinum along the way. They’ve played over 10,000 concerts on six continents. Spyro Gyra has maintained its standards of excellence and that has sustained them on the “A list” of live attractions in jazz for fifty years. 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. 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’”, algae he had studied once. The next week, he came back and there it was, misspelling and all, and so it began in 1974.

Recommended for Fans of Yellowjackets, Special EFX, David Sanborn and Lee Ritenour.

?: David White

Learn More: https://spyrogyra.com/


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