Niagara Gazette

December 11, 2013

JENNINGS: Special Spyro Gyra show highlights weekend

By Thom Jennings ngedit@niagara-gazette.com
Night & Day

Night & Day — Before we launch into this weekend’s happenings, I wanted to mention some concert news that is pretty exciting. First, Garth Brooks has announced he will embark on a world tour in 2014, no dates yet but country music fans should keep their fingers crossed that we will get a chance to see him in Western New York.

Also, Richard Thompson announced a solo acoustic tour with a stop in Buffalo at Asbury Hall at Babeville on March 7. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing Thompson is as a solo acoustic performer, and I am absolutely ecstatic he will be in Buffalo. This is a show you will not want to miss, and I will definitely be writing a preview when we get closer to the date of the show.

As for this weekend, things are definitely quieting down for the holiday season, but you can catch the artists featured in this week’s Night and Day, Tony Orlando and Michele Ragusa, ticket info for those shows may be found in their respective feature articles.

If you are a fan of Jazz then you have an opportunity to see a legendary jazz band with strong ties to Western New York, Spyro Gyra. The band performs at Rockwell Hall on Friday to celebrate their 40th anniversary in the city where it all began. Rockwell Hall is the perfect venue for this show, it has outstanding acoustics and is just the right size, holding around 850 people.

I was lucky enough to see Spyro Gyra for the first time back in the 1980’s in Rochester. It was my first exposure to Jazz fusion, and I really didn’t know what to expect. From that moment on I became a fan of both the genre and the band. It’s been a great 40 year run for Jay Beckenstein, Tom Schuman, and the rest of the band, and they show no signs of slowing down so that 50th anniversary will be here before you know it!

Tickets for the show start at $35 for the general public. Buffalo State student and faculty can purchase discount tickets as can senior citizens. More info is available at buffalostatepac.org.

While we are on the topic of legends, The Tralf is hosting one heck of a show Monday night featuring one of the greatest bass guitarists of all-time, along with three of his super talented siblings. I am talking about Victor Wooten, the multi-Grammy Award winning bassist from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Victor will be joined by Joseph Wooten, who is the keyboardist for The Steve Miller Band, Roy “Futureman” Wooten, drummer for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and guitarist Regi Wooten, a well-respected player and teacher of guitar.

Tickets for this show are $29 in advance and $34 day of show. It’s a Monday night, but if ever there were a reason to stay up late, seeing these guys is it.

For my show on a tank of gas, this isn’t music but if the weather cooperates I may be taking a trip to Seneca Falls this weekend to get autographs from Karolyn Grimes and Carol Coombs, two actresses from my favorite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The pair played Zuzu and Janie Bailey and will be appearing along with Mary Owen, the daughter of Donna Reed as part of a weekend of festivities devoted to the film. Karolyn uttered the iconic line at the end of the movie, “Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”

Check out therealbedfordfalls.com for more info and keep listening for those ringing bells.

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.