Spyro Gyra is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo, NY who has continued to reach an international audience for over forty years, resulting in sales of over 10 million albums, achieving one Platinum and two Gold albums. They have played over five thousand shows on six continents. They have accomplished this due to a forward looking approach combined with the work ethic of an underdog, always challenging themselves to do something new while never resting on past success. It has proven to be a recipe for longevity for this jazz group while music in general has gone in and out of styles in ever shorter cycles. They released their last, their 30th, album of new material The Rhinebeck Sessions in 2013, which Jazztimes called 'inspired'. Travis Rogers of the Jazz Journalists Association picked it for Jazz Album Of The Year. Something Else Reviews called it 'Their finest album since their early 80s heyday' and made it a TopTwenty pick for the year. George Harris of the Jazz Weekly enthused, 'I gotta tell ya, these guys still sound GREAT."
In addition to bandleader Jay Beckenstein (saxophones), the group is made up of Tom Schuman (keyboards), Julio Fernandez (guitars), Scott Ambush (bass) and newcomer Lionel Cordew on drums.Tom Schuman made his first appearance on the band's eponmymous debut forty years ago. Julio Fernandez joined the band in 1984 and Scott Ambush joined in 1992.
They are currently preparing for the mid-summer 2019 release of Vinyl Tap, their first album of new material in six years.
"My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me," says Beckenstein. "I've always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words. Whether it's touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there's this beauty in music that's not connected to sentences. It's very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they're able to share that feeling with us. That's the truly glorious part of being a musician."