All these years after Morning Dance and Catching the Sun, two of the top pop/jazz fusion albums of the early 1980s, Spyro Gyra is still one of the most well-known groups in the genre.
Saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and his cohorts haven't exactly been tearing up the charts lately, but then again, instrumental pop/jazz doesn't have the crossover/curiosity thing going on, the way it was back in '81 and '82 when Spyro Gyra records were flying off the shelves.
What Beckenstein has, as he had then, was solid and inventive musicianship, a brilliant sense of melody, and the ability to create and maintain a mood.
Well, name recognition certainly doesn't hurt.
Spyro Gyra has been announced as the headlining act for the 2010 Savannah Jazz Festival, admission-free in Forsyth Park.
The festival's official dates are Sept. 19-26; other performers include Joe Louis Walker, Marcus Printup, Joe Gransden, Thomas Marriott, the Eric Culberson Blues Band, Eric Mintel, Howard Paul, Jody Espina, Bob Mastellar and others.
Nothing too terribly exciting, but somebody, somewhere might want to make note of these dates:
Pop singer/songwriter Karla Bonoff headlines this year's Savannah Folk Festival, Oct. 10 at Grayson Stadium;
Contemporary Christian music's Steven Curtis Chapman brings his family show "A Night With the Chapmans" to the Johnny Mercer Theatre Oct. 15;
Australia's Little River Band (the 2010 version) plays Oct. 16 in Richmond Hill's Gregory Park, for the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival;
Acoustic music legend Peter Rowan will play at Randy Wood Guitars, in Bloomingdale, Oct. 17;
Electronic Christmas extravaganzic group Mannheim Steamroller rolls into the Johnny Mercer Nov. 24;
And way, way off in the distance, a little bird is telling me that jazz chanteuse Dianne Reeves will sing at the Lucas Theatre next April 2 - you can bet that it's part of the 2011 Savannah Music Festival, but since those folks don't announce their schedule until October, let's call it an educated guess. Thank you, little bird.