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. 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 his long time collaborator keyboardist Tom Schuman, Beckenstein describes him as “the most underestimated musician I have ever known. The guy is a musical genius.” Prompted to capsulize the rest of this musical family, guitarist Julio Fernandez is “Mr. Esprit”, the guy who brings spirit to the band, the guy who imbues just about every note he plays with pure emotion. “When he plays, I really feel it”. Bassist Scott Ambush is “an amazing musician and technician. He is the person in the band who is always encouraging us to push the envelope.” Drummer Lionel Cordew “is the engine that always works. Lionel is the backbone of the band as we all rely on him providing us rock solid structure for us to play on.”
With respect to the long term future for a band with a 50th anniversary not too far off, Beckenstein says “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.”
- Date / Time
- Saturday, October 14, 2023 @ 7:00 pm
- The Reserve Golf Club of Pawleys Island
18 Reserve Drive
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
- Ticket Price
- $40 – $185
If you are planning to purchase tickets to more than 3 performances, you may want to consider a Membership Package, which is more economical.