Spyro Gyra makes a tour stop at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre on March 12.

CLEARWATER — Spyro Gyra will perform Sunday, March 12, 8 p.m., at the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.

Tickets start at $35. Visit www.rutheckerdhall.com or call 727-791-7400.

Spyro Gyra is an unlikely story of a group with humble beginnings in Buffalo, New York, that has continued to reach an international audience over 49 years, resulting in sales of over 10 million albums. The band has played over 5,000 shows on five continents.

It’s accomplished this due to a forward-looking approach combined with the work ethic of an underdog, always attempting to do something new and never resting on past successes.

You might think that Spyro Gyra’s leader and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein might welcome a break from more than 45 years of year-round performances. After all, much of his adult life has been centered around the recording and performing activities of this now legendary group.

Well, the pandemic kept them off the road for the first time in the band’s history.

“The first few months of it, after over 45 years of touring without really having a break, it felt good to not be touring,” Beckenstein said. “Even if it was to realize how much I love being out there. But now, It’s been too long.”

Having formed in 1974, the band has logged over 10,000 shows on six continents. Spyro Gyra has released 35 albums garnering platinum and gold records along the way. 

In October 2019, Spyro Gyra released “Vinyl Tap,” an album of cover songs representing the band’s first release in six years, with selections drawing from pop and rock influences. Concertgoers can expect to hear music from “Vinyl Tap,” including a Latin big band approach to Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and a stunning arrangement of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

“I see ‘Vinyl Tap’ as being a bit of a one off,” Beckenstein said. “I’m very proud of ‘Vinyl Tap.’ I think we did a really nice job on interpretations. Everybody played great but as I said I think it’s a one off. It was really great fun doing other peoples’ material but that ultimately is not how I identify Spyro Gyra. Ultimately, we’re a band that writes its own material.” 

With respect to the long-term future for a band with a 50th anniversary just around the corner, Beckenstein said that as long as he can perform at a high-level, he would never think of retiring. 

“But I can’t tell you what it would be like if I was to have to continue as a lesser version of myself,” he added. “Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet. So, all I am thinking about right now is that I can’t wait to see the people again.”