first recording appears to be Birthright’s Free Spirits in 1974.
By the late ‘70s, he had joined Spyro
Gyra and stayed with them through 1980. Jim penned a couple of songs for
them, “Philly”, which appeared on 1980’s Catching the Sun, and “String
Soup”, on 1981’s Freetime.
In 1988, he
offered bass support on A Family
Sweet: The Music of Sam Falzone, and rejoined fellow Spyro
Gyra alum, Rick Strauss, on Jump Start. He can also
be heard on Spyro Gyra: Collection, released on CD in
1991. In 1994, he was in the
studio with Bobby Militello on tracks that would
later comprise the album, London
Flat, London Sharp. He also
made the cut on The Instrumental
History of Jazz in 1997. He
opened the new millennium on Colleen Williams’ eponymous CD, along
with his frequent partner-in-crime, Bobby Jones.
several years performing in the Buffalo area, at venues such as The
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Bobby McGee’s, The Buffalo and Erie County
Botanical Gardens, Faulkner Park, Kleinman’s
Music Hall, Niawanda Park, The Queen City Jazz
Festival, Seneca Niagara Casino, Roycroft Inn,
Shadow Lounge, The Sportsman’s, Tralf Music
Hall, Walker Center, and Wegman’s.
Some of the
artists and groups with whom he worked include Mir Ali, John Bacon, Jr.,
The Buffalo Philharmonic, The Custode and Parisi Jazz Trio, Djambossa,
Michael Feinstein, Heather Gross, Dan Hull, It’s Kenny’s Fault,
The Jim Beishline Quartet, Bill Kuhn, Rob Lynch,
Diana Lynne, Janice Mitchell, Don Rice, Dave Scott, Trio Gitano, Stu Weissman, and Zodia.
In 2007, he
appeared on Bobby Militello’s Straight Ahead CD and Bob Silvestri’s album, Between Head and Heart.
Jim was also
active as a mentor and teacher, instructing up-and-comers such as Matt
Michaud, Darrell Nutt, and John Shaughnessy. In July 2009, he led his own jazz
camp as part of the summer session at Villa
in Buffalo, New York.
He passed away
on 26th April 2011 after a twelve-year battle with cancer.
Spyro Gyra recordings
Morning Dance (Jay Beckenstein)