In a studio in Rhinebeck, NY, the members of Spyro Gyra agreed to spend 3 days collectively improvising. After writing and recording for those 3 days, their new album, “The Rhinebeck Sessions,” was created. The legendary group has been making music and pleasing fans for over 35 years. Jay Beckenstein, the saxophone player, played all through school. His father exposed him to artists like Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. While in Germany with his father on an Army base, he had the opportunity to play in bands and was introduced to R&B. He later returned to the states and attended college in NY. When Jay graduated, he spent time working in bands around town and eventually reconnected with his friend Jeremy Wall. Together they would evolve into what we now know as Spyro Gyra. Much to their surprise, their early project skyrocketed, and the group sold over tens of thousands of records in a year. They immediately captured the attention of an audience that loved their music. Jay describes the group as an instrumental ensemble that rarely has vocals. He credits the band’s tendency to be natural, pure, unpretentious musicians who put the welfare of the band before themselves with its longevity. This is evident still when listening to “The Rhinebeck Sessions.” Although some may think it’s edgier than previous albums, it’s also Spyro Gyra at their best. Jay would like the legacy of Spyro Gyra to be that their music impacted a new generation.
She’s intelligent, articulate, and a classically trained flute player. Her name is Kim Scott. Scott’s talent and distinctive, polished tone can be heard every time she plays. She’s not just an artist but also an educator that finds joy in sharing her gift and knowledge of music with her students. Her debut CD, “Crossing Over,” climbed the music charts. She’s constantly evolving as an artist and performer, and her growth is undeniable on her sophomore CD “Rite of Passage,” produced by Kelvin Wooten. Kim also shows off her vocal skills on the song “Sweet Obsessions,” which she wrote. Her album is currently rising on the charts, and she continues to tour sharing her gift with the world. Kim’s a mother, a teacher, Chair of the Music Department of The Alabama School of Fine Arts, she plays with the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, and she’s a rising star in the world of Jazz. She does it all, and she does it with class.
Kim shares her story with me.
He’s known for his chart topping hits, his use of many instruments, and as a quadruple threat. Euge is a saxophonist, composer, producer, and DJ. He immerses himself into his music, and remains true to his art and his fans. He grew up listening to all types of music, and that exposure helped shaped the musician he is today. Euge knows what it feels like to be at the top of your craft, and have numerous chart topping #1 hits. Yet he stays grounded and focused on his calling in life. His longevity in the industry speaks volumes about his talent. His latest album titled “HOUSE OF GROOVE” was recorded in only eight months, and delivers some powerful vocals from Jeffrey Osborne, Chioma, and Kate Miner.
Let’s hear his story in his own words.
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Looking ahead a few months, jump starting the 5th Annual Carolina Jazz Concert Series hosted by the Jazz Diva in Charlotte, NC will be Najee and Alex Bugnon on August 3rd at the Halton Theater. The second concert in the series will be headlined by Take 6 on September 28th at the Halton Theater. The season will end with a “MUST SEE” concert featuring Johnathan Butler on November 2nd at the Halton Theater. Tickets can be purchased for these shows at http://tix.cpcc.edu/events/carolina_jazz_concert_series or by calling 704-330-6534. Tickets go on sale on February 15th.
There are many concerts to attend this year. However, I must admit that I’m so excited to end the year with one very special evening with Spyro Gyra and The Yellowjackets on December 14th at 8:00pm. The show will be held at The Knight Theater in Charlotte, NC. Tickets can be purchased at www.carolinatix.org, or by calling the box office at 704-372-1000. They are 2 of my all time favorite jazz bands that I’ve loved and listened to for many years. It’s like the best Christmas gift I could have received. Thanks to the Jazz Diva Tammy Greene for making this happen. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to see them perform live. I can personally attest to that.