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Spyro Gyra Smooth Cruise recap July 31, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Personal.
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Spirit Cruises sign

Last night, I was aboard the Spirit of New York‘s sunset cruise (6:30 PM) out of Chelsea Piers (Pier 61) in New York, New York, which featured the weekly Smooth Cruise.

Spirit of New York

The cruise route took us down the Hudson River, through New York Harbor, up the East River, and back.

This week, the performers were Spyro Gyra.
Spyro Gyra

The set list was as follows:
1. Jam Up
2. Simple Pleasures
3. Get Busy
4. Early song medley I: Shaker Song
5. Early song medley II: Catching The Sun
6. Early song medley III: Morning Dance
7. Scott Ambush bass solo/Island Time
8. Bonny B. drum solo/Funkyard Dog

Outside of Dharma All Stars and Natural Selection (saxophonist Mario Cruz’s band) gigs, I have never been as close to the band while they’re playing as I was last night.  Before I took pictures of them, I went out to the bow of the ship.  These are the pictures that stood out:

Ellis Island:
Ellis Island

Lower Manhattan skyline:
Lower Manhattan skyline

Bow flag

The Statue of Liberty:
Statue of Liberty

Now, to the band.

On the alto and soprano saxophones, Jay Beckenstein:
Jay Beckenstein, alto sax

I was eating my buffet dinner, and then out on the bow, when Jay was on soprano sax on “Simple Pleasures” and “Get Busy,” but here he is on both alto and soprano on “Funkyard Dog”:
Jay Beckenstein, alto and soprano sax

On keyboards, Tom Schuman:
Tom Schuman, keyboard

Tom Schuman, keyboards

Scott Ambush on bass:
Scott Ambush, bass

Scott Ambush, bass

Julio Fernandez on guitar and vocals:
Julio Fernandez, guitar

Julio Fernandez, guitar

And on drums and vocals, Bonny B.!
Bonny B, drums

Letting out a laugh:
Bonny B laughs

Asking the passengers a question in slow motion (on the third attempt):
Bonny B slow-mo
The answer was a loud “Yeah!!!”

In the span of a week, I got to see two phenomenal drummers (John Favicchia last Thursday).

The band stands together and waves at the end:
Spyro Gyra standing, waving

My apologies to Tom for only having a shot where he blinked.  The following picture taken afterward with me makes up for it:
Mike Chimeri, Tom Schuman

Despite some personal moments early on where I felt overwhelmed (oh, that Asperger Syndrome)–such as indecision on whether to sit in one of the rows of chairs or at a table (settled on a table), not realizing the ticket to the buffet was only good one time (that worked out in the end, too)–I had a great time.  And Spyro Gyra always makes for a great time.

8/1 UPDATE: Here are some additional pictures from the cruise.  The first two were taken while waiting to board.

The early evening sun behind the clouds:
The early evening sun behind clouds

A wider sky shot:
A wider sky shot

And on the way back, the Empire State Building:
Empire State Building

8/9 UPDATE: Kat Sarracco was aboard the 9:30 cruise.  She also took pictures.  For those of you on MySpace (account required), here are additional pictures.

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Comments»

1. Rafael Franco - August 1, 2008

Hi Mike,
Very nice to read your report about the cruise show!!!
Anyone get seasickness?
I attended two shows recently in Spain and had the time to tell Jay about this cruise show in NY, he answered that he hoped not to get seasick!!! 🙂

Best regards
Rafa Franco (Sevilla, Spain)

2. Mike Chimeri - August 1, 2008

Thank you, Rafa.
I don’t know if anyone got seasick. I was worried I would get seasick, especially since I didn’t take any Dramamine before I boarded. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

3. Rippingtons Smooth Cruise recap « The Mike Chimeri Blog - July 24, 2009

[…] out of Chelsea Piers’ Pier 61 in New York, New York, to catch the weekly Smooth Cruise.  Last year, I was on hand for Spyro Gyra.  This time, it was the Rippingtons.  It was the first time I had […]

4. Two Smooth Cruises ahead « The Mike Chimeri Blog - August 4, 2010

[…] York for the sunset (6:30 PM) Smooth Cruise.  This will be my third year aboard.  In 2008, I saw Spyro Gyra.  In 2009, I caught the […]

5. RnR Smooth Cruise recap « The Mike Chimeri Blog - August 7, 2010

[…] the Spirit of New York.  The cruise was their 6:30 PM sunset cruise.  In 2008, I saw Spyro Gyra.  In 2009, I caught the Rippingtons.   This time, the group was RnR: Rick Braun and Richard […]

6. Travel pictures « MikeChimeri.com - June 13, 2012

[…] more travel pics, check these posts: Spyro Gyra Smooth Cruise recap (July 2008) Alumni Show interview: Ken Navarro! (September 2008) South Florida trip recap […]

7. Spyro Gyra Smooth Cruise recap 2 | MikeChimeri.com - August 15, 2013

[…] My first Smooth Cruise aboard the Spirit of New York five years ago featured Spyro Gyra.  Wednesday evening, I saw that legendary band for the second time. […]


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