As Spyro Gyra contemplates upcoming milestones to its storied career, it's tempting to fall back on the Grateful Dead lyric, "What a long strange trip it's been" to describe it. In the span of their career to date, they have performed over five thousand shows, released twenty-nine albums (not counting "Best Of..." compilations) selling over ten million albums while also achieving one platinum and two gold albums. These upcoming milestones include 2012, which will be thirty-five years since their first album release and 2014 will be forty years as a band. They show little sign of wanting to slow down either, gaining Grammy nominations for each of their last four albums.
In their earliest days, Spyro Gyra took their cues from Weather Report and Return to Forever - bands whose creative flights were fueled by a willingness to do things that had never been done before. "I believed that we were springing from what Weather Report did," says Beckenstein. "I never thought in commercial terms. I just thought they were the next step in the evolution of jazz, and that we would be part of it."
"My hope is that our music has the same effect on the audience that it does on me," says Beckenstein. "I've always felt that music, and particularly instrumental music, has this non-literal quality that lets people travel to a place where there are no words. Whether it's touching their emotions or connecting them to something that reminds them of something much bigger than themselves, there's this beauty in music that's not connected to sentences. It's very transportive. I would hope that when people hear our music or come to see us, they're able to share that with us. That's the truly glorious part of being a musician."