It was the fall of 1979, I was a freshman at Syracuse University, when I came across Spyro Gyra's self titled first release. Being from Buffalo, I was aware who they were, but never really heard any of their music, except 'Shaker Song' - it was in the cut-out bin, so I picked it up. Well, that was the beginning of the end for my popular music, rock purchases, after that - I was hooked, I tried it once, and became an addict - to Jazz! Needless to say, Spyro Gyra is my sentimental and personal favorite group; from that first purchase, I have amassed a Jazz collection that spans over 7000 recordings, the vast majority currently cd and digitally based; the Lp's have been replaced, where applicable and slowly been given away or sold to other collectors.
I've seen Spyro Gyra live more times than I can remember, the first being in 1981 in Buffalo at Kleinhans Music Hall. The concert was in support of their latest release at the time, Carnival, and keyboardist Jeremy Wall, who by this time was no longer part of the touring band, opened the show for them with a solo piano set of some of his compositions. After one particular concert at the Tralfamadore in Buffalo as well, Tom Schuman and I shared a few cocktails at a cigar bar next to Shea's Buffalo Theatre, I think that was in 1995. Three of my favorite songs from this release are: 'Opus D'Opus', 'Mallet Ballet', and 'Galadriel'. 'Mallet Ballet' shows up again, in 1991, on the Collection cd, as a rare live recording that was done as a promotion during a live radio broadcast in Cleveland.
Over the course of this blog, there will be more Spyro Gyra, along with numerous other recordings that span my 29 year odyssey of exploring and learning about this incredible art form and the extraordinary artists who create and perform it - along with short stories about what was happening at that time in my life, which makes that particular recording significant for me. I hope you enjoy and check back often.