Spyro Gyra,
Wrapped in a Dream
(Heads Up, 2006)

In the mid-1970s, Jay Beckenstein and Jeremy Wahl formed a musical duo. Recruiting additional musicians as needed from the local jazz scene, the duo played clubs in and around Buffalo, N.Y. They were sometimes known as the Tuesday Night Jazz Jam, but when a club owner pushed the band for a name, Jay recalled a word from his days in college biology class and said "spirogyra" -- (a genus of filamentous freshwater green algae) -- but the club owner spelled the word wrong and wrote Spyro Gyra. The name stuck, and the rest as they say is history.

In 1979, Spyro Gyra struck gold with the breakout hit "Morning Dance," and for nearly 30 years Spyro Gyra has been a force to be reckoned with on the jazz music scene.

Buffalo's Tom Schuman joined the band over 15 years ago as the keyboard player, while other members have come and gone in the other positions; but sax player and founding member Jay Beckenstein is still with the band, which has since expanded to five full-time members.

For nearly three decades, Spyro Gyra has been a constant at or near the top of the Billboard jazz charts and have dominated the smooth jazz field. The Grammy-nominated Wrapped in a Dream is a collection of 12 tunes that, while slightly more toward progressive or fusion jazz than their usual, is still unmistakably Spyro Gyra. Like the spiral form of the algae from which they take their name, band members weave their lines in and around each other musically to produce a sound that is distinctly unique.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Sherrill Fulghum

10 May 2008

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