Spyro Gyra to celebrate 40 years of making music


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  • 2012 Brian Friedman Spyro Gyra in Huntington, N.Y.



Popular contemporary jazz band Spyro Gyra celebrates the 35th anniversary of its breakthrough release of "Morning Dance" at Mayo Performing Arts Center on Thursday, March 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39 to $59.

This year, 2014, presents a dual milestone year for Spyro Gyra. First is that it marks 40 years as a band, something that very few bands get to say. The second is the 35th anniversary of their breakthrough platinum album "Morning Dance." To observe these dual anniversaries, the band is going to present a never-before-seen event for its fans. The band will perform the entire "Morning Dance" album in sequence for the first time ever in its career in select cities. Where time allows, this will be the first half of the show with the second half being highlights of the rest of their career in music, including music from their 2013 release, "The Rhinebeck Sessions."

The group first gathered in a club in Buffalo, N.Y. has since released 30 albums of new material with sales of more than 10 million copies while having played more than 5,000 show in their career.

"The Rhinebeck Sessions" is the band's 30th album and its first to be written entirely in the studio over the course of just three days. In April 2013, founder and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and the members of Spyro Gyra entered a recording studio in Rhinebeck, N.Y., a small town in the Hudson Valley not far from Woodstock. Beckenstein and his bandmates improvised with each other over three days and in the process wrote and recorded an entire new album.

What came is 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. Critical reaction to the album range from Jazztimes calling it "inspired" to Travis Rogers of the Jazz Journalists Association picking it for Jazz Album Of The Year. Something Else Reviews called it "Their finest album since their early 80s heyday." George Harris of the Jazz Weekly enthused, "I gotta tell ya, these guys still sound GREAT." Downbeat gave The Rhinebeck Sessions three and a half stars and Audiophile Audition agrees that the album "just sparkles!".

Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For more information contact the box office 973-539-8008 or visit www.mayoarts.org.

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