Name Jay Beckenstein
Role Saxophone player
|Labels BearTracks Studios|
Education University at Buffalo
|Born May 14, 1951 (age 64)
Long Island, New York United States (1951-05-14) |
Genres Smooth jazz, Jazz fusion
Albums Eye Contact, Freetime, Stories Without Words, Morning Dance, Catching the Sun
Music group Spyro Gyra (Since 1974)
Jay beckenstein morning dance
Jay Beckenstein (born May 14, 1951, New York) is a saxophonist, composer, producer, and co-founder of the band Spyro Gyra. He owned BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York.
Jay beckenstein eye contact
Jay 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 5 when he moved to Farmingdale, New York. He was given his first saxophone at the age of 7. In his senior year of high school, he and his family moved to Germany. He attended and graduated from Nürnberg 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.
During the summers in college, he and high school friend Jeremy Wall played gigs in Long Island. While playing at a bar, they came up with the band's name Spyro Gyra (spirogyra) after looking at it written on a piece of paper under a microscope, but the bar owner misspelled it. Beckenstein has said, "It sounds like what we do—like a lot of motion and stuff".
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