Beckenstein, Gulfstream Park, Hallandale, Florida
|Born||May 14, 1951|
Long Island, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Smooth jazz, jazz fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, producer|
|Associated acts||Spyro Gyra, Bob James, Dream Theater, Jason Miles, Dave Samuels, Jeremy Wall, Tom Schuman|
Jay Beckenstein (born May 14, 1951) is an American saxophonist, composer, producer, and the co-founder of the band Spyro Gyra. He owned BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York.
Beckenstein was born in Long Island, New York, to a Jewish family. His mother, Lorraine, was an opera singer and his father, Leonard, loved jazz and introduced him to Charlie Parker and Lester Young when he was a baby. He started playing the piano at age five when he moved to Farmingdale, New York. He was given his first saxophone at the age of seven. In his senior year of high school, he and his family moved to Germany. He attended and graduated from Nurnberg American High School in 1969. He has said that being Jewish in Germany was positive at the time. However, he has recalled that he once saw an old photo of an elderly neighbor in his SS Nazi uniform while visiting him and he never went back. He received a college degree in music from the University at Buffalo in 1973. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie once played with the college band while Beckenstein was a band member.
They soon recruited 16-year-old keyboardist Tom Schuman and recorded their debut album. However, due to lack of funds, the record was going to be their last album until they gave it away and sold 100,000 copies. From there, they got a deal and released their next album in 1979.
In 2000, Beckenstein released his first solo album, Eye Contact, which charted No. 23 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums.
Beckenstein played the saxophone solo on American progressive metal band Dream Theater's "Another Day", from the album Images and Words , and single version of song "Through her Eyes", from the album Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory . He also played a solo part in "Take Away My Pain" on the live album Once in a Livetime as well as "Another Day" during the performance of Metropolis 2000: Scenes from New York .
Beckenstein is divorced and has three children.
With Bob James
With Dream Theater
With Jason Miles
Spyro Gyra is an American jazz fusion band that was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1974. The band's music combines jazz, R&B, funk, and pop music. The band's name comes from Spirogyra, a genus of green algae which founder Jay Beckenstein had learned about in college.
Once in a LIVEtime is a live double album by progressive metal band Dream Theater, released in 1998. It is their second live release. It was produced and recorded by Kevin Shirley during the European leg of the Touring into Infinity world tour, at the Bataclan theater in Paris.
In Modern Times is an album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in 2001 by Heads Up International. This album reached No. 2 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz chart.
Spyro Gyra is the self-titled debut album by the jazz fusion group Spyro Gyra, released in 1978. The album was self-released on the label Crosseyed Bear Productions before the band signed with Amherst Records and re-released it with a different cover.
Morning Dance is the second album by the jazz fusion group Spyro Gyra. The album was released in 1979 and was certified gold by the RIAA on September 19, 1979, and was certified platinum on June 1, 1987.
Catching the Sun is the third album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in 1980 on MCA Records. The album was given gold status by the RIAA on June 5, 1985.
Carnaval is the fourth album by Spyro Gyra, released in 1980. It was given gold record status on June 1, 1987.
City Kids is the seventh album by Spyro Gyra, released in 1983. At Billboard magazine, it reached No. 66 on the Top 200 Albums chart, and No. 2 on that magazine's Jazz Albums chart.
Breakout is the tenth album by Spyro Gyra, released in 1986. It was the last album co-produced by Richard Calandra, who died of cancer in October 1986.
Alternating Currents is the ninth album by jazz fusion group Spyro Gyra, released in 1985. At Billboard magazine, it reached No. 66 on the Top 200 Albums chart, No. 41 on the R&B Albums chart, and No. 3 on the Jazz Albums chart.
Stories Without Words is the eleventh album by American jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra, released in 1987. At Billboard magazine, it reached No. 84 on the Top 200 Albums chart and No. 67 on the R&B Albums chart.
Good to Go-Go is the 29th album by Spyro Gyra, released on June 12, 2007. This album has the first appearance by the drummer Bonny Bonaparte.
Point of View is the thirteenth album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in June 1989 by GRP Records. At Billboard magazine, the album peaked at No. 120 on the Top 200 Albums chart.
Fast Forward is the fourteenth album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in 1990 by GRP Records. On this album only, the band was billed on the album cover as "Spyro Gyra featuring Jay Beckenstein". At Billboard magazine, the album peaked at No. 117 on the Top 200 Albums chart.
Three Wishes is the sixteenth album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in 1992 by GRP Records.
20/20 is the twentieth album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in 1997 by GRP Records.
Got the Magic is an album by the American jazz group Spyro Gyra, released in 1999 by Windham Hill Records.
The Deep End is the twenty-seventh album by Spyro Gyra, released on May 25, 2004. The album peaked at No. 3 on the jazz album chart at Billboard magazine.
Wrapped in a Dream is the twenty-eighth album by Spyro Gyra, recorded and released in 2006. The album peaked at No. 11 on the jazz album chart at Billboard magazine.
A Foreign Affair is an album by American jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra. The album is the story of five men and their love affair with music. The album contains a Hindi song Khuda sung by Arijit Singh, composed by Sandeep Chowta and co-produced by Chowta and Spyro Gyra. It is the first time a Western group has released a song with lyrics entirely in Hindi.