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Spyro Gyra Smooth Cruise recap July 31, 2008

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Personal.

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.

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.

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:

Lower Manhattan skyline:

The Statue of Liberty:

Now, to the band.

On the alto and soprano saxophones, Jay Beckenstein:

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”:

On keyboards, Tom Schuman:

Scott Ambush on bass:

Julio Fernandez on guitar and vocals:

And on drums and vocals, Bonny B.!

Letting out a laugh:

Asking the passengers a question in slow motion (on the third attempt):

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:

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

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:

A wider sky shot:

And on the way back, the 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.



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.

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