Spyro Gyra is a popular jazz/instrumental pop ensemble that began in Buffalo, NY. Saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Jeremy Wall played at the "Tuesday Night - Jazz Jam" at the Jack Daniel's club in Buffalo. The club owner wanted a name for the increasingly popular band. Jay said "Call it spirogira," recalling the scientific name for pond scum from a biology class. The owner misspelled it as "Spyro Gyra," but the name stuck.
The group financed their 1976 debut album, "Spyro Gyra." Their first major label album, "Morning Dance" (1979), became a hit in the jazz world. The title song received significant airplay on jazz radio. Tom Schuman became the primary keyboardist as Wall retired, though he remained an associate producer and occasional composer.
Spyro Gyra has released new albums at a steady clip throughout the 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s. Some highlights are 1980's "Carnaval," which featured the sounds of Brazilian jazz and folk music, "Catching the Sun" (1980), "Breakout" (1986), and "Dreams Beyond Control" (1993). Their most recent album is "Wrapped in a Dream" (2006).
They have always maintained a busy touring schedule. In 2006, they played in the U.S., Japan and Mexico.
The line-up has changed over the years as vibraphonist Dave Samuels joined the band in the 80s but left to work on solo projects. Jay Beckenstein and Tom Schuman have provided the foundation for the group's sound through the years.