Spyro Gyra to Celebrate 35th Anniversary of MORNING DANCE at MPAC, 3/20
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, 2014 at 8 pm. Tickets are $39-59.
2014 presents a dual milestone year for Spyro Gyra that begs for some observance. First is that it marks forty 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, which was the musical achievement which truly introduced them to the world at large. 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.
As Spyro Gyra contemplates this year's 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? 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.
When this group first gathered in a club in Buffalo, New York to found what was to be known for a while as "Tuesday Night - Jazz Jam," no one would have predicted their eventual success. They would go on to release thirty albums of new material with sales of over 10 million copies while having played over five thousand show in this remarkable 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 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 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.
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, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich, and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2013-2014 season is made possible, in part, by a grant the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support received from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation and numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.