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Spyro Gyra czyli 30 album na 40. lecie istnienia zespołu

Spyro Gyra Celebrates The Release of Their 30th Album,
Written & Recorded Over Three Days
In A Hudson Valley Studio



Band To Mark 40 Years in 2014,
Will Tour Playing Platinum-Selling Classic,
Starting February 2014,
Celebrating 35th Anniversary of Its Release


                                                                   Photo credit: Brian Friedman/B-Freed Photography

As Spyro Gyra contemplates upcoming milestones to its storied career, it is tempting to fall back on the Grateful Dead lyric, "What a long strange trip it’s been." How many bands in instrumental jazz or any kind of music, can boast a 40-year career, gaining and keeping fans over almost four decades? When Spyro Gyra formed in 1974 in Buffalo, New York, the pop charts included names like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad, The Carpenters, Bob Marley & The Wailers and Pink Floyd. Very few groups can claim this kind of longevity. Yet Spyro Gyra shows no sign of slowing down, having garnered Grammy® nominations for four consecutive albums in the last ten years while touring worldwide year-round.

Add to that legacy The Rhinebeck Sessions, the band's 30th album and its first to be written entirely in the studio over the course of just three days. In the early days of April 2013, founder and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and the members of Spyro Gyra entered a recording studio in Rhinebeck, NY, a small town in the Hudson Valley not far from Woodstock. Beckenstein and his bandmates – Tom Schuman (piano & keyboards), Julio Fernandez (guitars), Scott Ambush (bass) and Lee Pearson (drums) – set out to do something that they had never done before in their nearly forty year history – improvise with each other over three days and in the process write and record an entire new album.


“As I thought about doing another record, I asked myself, what is it that makes Spyro Gyra so special?” Beckenstein explains, “I decided that it was the fact that we have been together so long that the communication between us has become almost mystical. Our ability to improvise on the fly has become so strong because we have played together so much. It was time to go into the studio with very little planned and see what might come out of it.”

What came is The Rhinebeck Sessions, a collection of mostly uptempo, often funky pieces that stands toe to toe with the best of this group’s prolific output. Adding a further dimension to the story, The Rhinebeck Sessions is the band's first fully independent release since their 1977 eponymous debut.

Beckenstein concedes, “It was a bit of a gamble but we’re lucky to have a loyal fan base whom we feel are probably going to be interested in whatever we’re doing. I was also fairly confident that whatever came out of it would be pretty close to the way we have approached our live shows for years.”

And different it is. Starting with the eight-minute plus opener “Serious Delivery,” the album cascades through bebop lines alongside rocking almost jam-band-like grooves. “We didn’t set out with an eight minute tune just to make a statement, but that wouldn’t have happened in our previous way of making records. Normally, you wouldn’t want to lead a record with a tune that long, no matter how good it is. But we decided that we weren’t going to be afraid to do it either.”

The resulting collectively composed tunes clearly demonstrate what the group’s fan base already knows – that Spyro Gyra can play just about any sound and are not shy about delivering virtuosic performances.

Beckenstein explains his feelings on much music produced today and how The Rhinebeck Sessions represent a departure from that. “Music has come to a place where it’s overproduced, oversampled, overlooped. The coolest thing about jazz is improvising as you go. That’s the antithesis of where music has tended to go these days. So in that sense, it’s very retro. It harkens back to the ideals of the past. It tells a simple story of what went on here.”

“Some of these tunes started with nothing more than a beat. Maybe Scott would come up with a phrase and maybe Lee would start something, or Julio or Tom. With a few of these tunes, there wasn’t a single word uttered before the first note was played. Other tunes came from an idea brought by a band member, some more developed than others, but after that we were all open to taking it to where we, as a band, wanted it to go. Those ideas were always intended to be starting points and they were.”

Beckenstein addresses the business end of financing and releasing one’s own album independently. “I think the time has come in the music industry for artists to take control of their music. With the revolutions in the digital distribution of music, you don’t need as much of the machinery of the major record companies that you once did. There is still a world where you need a big record company machine to maximize what you do. But in the more modest confines of selling jazz records, there’s so much that you can do without that big machine.”

“When it’s your own money at risk, there is a temptation to make a more conventionally commercial record. That didn’t happen with this record. It sounds like us because we did it for ourselves. This is a very personal record.  On the other hand, because you’re more aware of the money being spent, there’s an incentive to get it done, say what you’ve got to say and wrap it up. I think we did that here.”

As 2014 will mark the band’s 40th Anniversary as a working group and the 35th Anniversary of their Platinum-selling Morning Dance, the band has planned concerts worldwide where they plan to play Morning Dance in its entirety.  For more info on these concerts and all of Spyro Gyra’s upcoming activities surrounding The Rhinebeck Sessions, visit http://www.spyrogyra.com.

Release Date: September 24, 2013


Oct 2-3 - Boca Raton, FL - Jazziz Nightlife
Oct 4 - Macon, GA - Douglass Theater
Oct 12 - Florence, OR - Florence Events Center
Oct 13 - Portland, OR - Alberta Rose Theater
Nov 2 - Las Vegas, NV - Santa Fe Casino
Nov 8 - Kiawah Island, SC - Weekend of Jazz

Nov 20 - La Paz, Bolivia - Circulo de Oficiales del Ejercito
Nov 22 - Santiago, Chile - Cupula Parque O'Higgins

Nov 23 - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Teatro Coliseo
Dec 6 - Washington, DC - The Hamilton
Dec 7 - Cranston, RI - Park Theater
Dec 13 - Buffalo, NY - Buffalo State PAC
Dec 14 - Charlotte, NC - Blumenthal PAC

MORNING DANCE 35th Anniversary Tour

Feb 13 - Saratoga, CA - Montalvo Arts Center
Feb 14 - Thousand Oaks, CA - Civic Arts Plaza
Feb 20-22 - Aspen, CO - JAS Café Downstairs at the Nell
Feb 28 - Skokie, IL - North Shore PAC
Mar 1 - Germantown, TN - Germantown PAC
Mar 8 - Beaver Creek, OH - Weekend of Jazz Fest
Mar, 20 2014 - Morristown, NJ - Mayo Performing Arts
Mar 21-22 - Boston, MA - Scullers Jazz Club

piątek, 27 września 2013, jazz-gazeta

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