s Spyro Gyra contemplates upcoming milestones to its storied career, it’s tempting to fall back on the Grateful Dead lyric, “What a long strange trip it’s been” to describe it. During that time, they have performed over five thousand shows, released twenty-nine albums (not counting “Best Of…” compilations) selling over ten million albums while also achieving one platinum and two gold albums. These upcoming milestones include 2012, which will be thirty-five years since their first album release and 2014 will be forty years as a band. They show little sign of wanting to slow down either, gaining Grammy® nominations for each of their last four albums.
Born in Brooklyn, bandleader Jay Beckenstein grew up listening to the music of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie, and started playing the saxophone at age seven