Slacker Logo

Spyro Gyra

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

Founded in 1974 by saxophonist Jay Beckenstein, Spyro Gyra have consistently been one of the commercially successfully pop-jazz groups of the past 30 years. The band became a full-time venture in 1976 and has been touring ever since. Critics love to attack this band's music, which combines R&B and elements of pop and Caribbean music with jazz, but its live performances are often stimulating -- unlike many of its records, which emphasize the danceable melodies. The roots of Spyro Gyra lay in Buffalo, NY, in 1974. Beckenstein and his longtime friend, keyboardist Jeremy Wall, had been leading a group with a revolving membership; every one of the many members in the band were loosely involved in the local jazz and rock scenes. Around 1974, the group was beginning to gel and cultivate a following. A club owner who wanted to advertise an upcoming appearance by the band asked Beckenstein for the group's name. The saxophonist told him "Spirogyra," a word he learned in a college biology course. The owner misspelled the word as Spyro Gyra, and the band fell into place, featuring Beckenstein, Wall, Jim Kurzdorfer, and Tom Walsh. Not long afterward, the group added keyboardist Tom Schuman. Electric guitarist Chet Catallo, drummer Eli Konikoff, and percussionist Gerardo Velez all joined in 1978 (with Wall dropping out) and bassist David Wofford was added in 1980. Spyro Gyra independently funded and recorded their debut album, releasing the record on the local independent label Amherst in 1976. The record slowly became a success and Amherst sold the rights to the band to Infinity Records, a division of MCA. Wall left the band in 1978, leaving Schuman as the group's main keyboardist. Morning Dance, their first album for Infinity, was released in 1979. The record became a major hit, spawning a Top 40 single with "Morning Dance" and going platinum. Morning Dance firmly placed Spyro Gyra as one of the most popular artists in contemporary jazz, and throughout the '80s, their popularity continued growing. Their albums were consistent best-sellers, and their concerts often sold out. In 1983, vibraphonist and marimba player Dave Samuels -- who had played on several of the group's albums -- became a full-fledged member of the band. Over the course of the '80s, the membership of Spyro Gyra fluctuated, but Beckenstein and Schuman remained at its core, keeping the group's signature sound intact. In 1990, MCA's jazz roster was absorbed by GRP, so Spyro Gyra switched labels, releasing Fast Forward, their first album for GRP, later that year. In 1993, Samuels left the touring band, but he continued to play in the studio. By the late '90s, the band featured Beckenstein, Schuman, Julio Fernandez, Joel Rosenblatt, and Scott Ambush, and released Got the Magic in 1999. Two years later the band moved to the Telarc-affiliated Heads Up label and released In Modern Times in 2001, followed by Original Cinema in 2003. Drummer Rosenblatt left the band and was replaced by Ludwig Afonso for 2004's Deep End. A fourth Heads Up album, Good to Go-Go, was issued in 2007. The holiday album A Night Before Christmas followed in 2008. ~ Scott Yanow & Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Spyro Gyra

false

    11 songs

    On Air

    A Foreign Affair

    11 songs

    On Air

    A Night Before Christmas

    11 songs

    On Air

    Got the Magic

    10 songs

    On Air

    20/20

    11 songs

    On Air

    Heart of the Night

    11 songs

    On Air

    Point of View

    11 songs

    On Air

    Love & Other Obsessions

    11 songs

    On Air

    Dreams Beyond Control

    14 songs

    On Air

    Three Wishes

    10 songs

    On Air

    Fast Forward

    9 songs

    On Air

    The Rhinebeck Sessions

    9 songs

    On Air

    Rites of Summer

    9 songs

    On Air

    Alternating Currents

    11 songs

    On Air

    20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Spyro Gyra

    16 songs

    On Air

    The Very Best of Spyro Gyra

    11 songs

    On Air

    Road Scholars

    11 songs

    On Air

    Down the Wire

    11 songs

    On Air

    The Deep End

    9 songs

    On Air

    Catching the Sun

    9 songs

    On Air

    Morning Dance

    14 songs

    On Air

    The Best of Spyro Gyra: The First Ten Years

    12 songs

    On Air

    Good to Go-Go

    12 songs

    On Air

    Wrapped in a Dream

    13 songs

    On Air

    Original Cinema

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Spyro Gyra

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Morning Dance
  3.   Ariana
  4.   I'll Be Home for Christmas
  5.   Cafe Amore
  6.   Catching the Sun
  7.   Caribe
  8.   Winter Wonderland
  9.   Shaker Song
  10.   Wishful Thinking
  11.   Unspoken
  12.   Birks Law
  13.   Bahia
  14.   Waltz For Isabel
  15.   Breakfast at Igor's
  16.   Walk The Walk
  17.   Same Difference
  18.   The Delicate Prey
  19.   Funkyard Dog
  20.   Flashback
  21.   Sunflurry
  22.   Teardrops
  23.   Havana Moonlight
  24.   The River Between
  25.   The Archer
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Spyro Gyra

    On Air

    Jazz Christmas

    On Air

    Smooth Jazz

    On Air

    Smooth Jazz Instrumentals

    On Air

    The Wolf Lounge

    On Air

    '70s Hits

    On Air

    '70s Deep Dive


Artists Related to
Spyro Gyra

On Air

Fourplay

On Air

Boney James

On Air

David Benoit

On Air

Dave Koz

On Air

Bob James

On Air

George Benson

On Air

The Rippingtons

On Air

Najee

On Air

Lee Ritenour

On Air

David Sanborn

On Air

Joe Sample

On Air

Grover Washington, Jr.

On Air

Rick Braun

On Air

Gerald Albright

On Air

Richard Elliot

On Air

Paul Hardcastle

On Air

Kenny G

On Air

Jeff Lorber

On Air

Wayman Tisdale

On Air

Norman Brown

On Air

Brian Culbertson

On Air

Earl Klugh

On Air

Al Jarreau

On Air

Peter White

See All Related Artists

Loading Sliders...
  1. + -

 
 
Advertisement

LIVE STREAM...

LIVE STREAM...
Casting to |