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Lyle Mays
#3014847 11/04/19 08:10 AM
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He has a large discography to go through and pick out great moments. For me though, this might be one of his best -- this live version where he plays an absolutely stunning solo on the beautiful Metheny standard, "James".

I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that's he's not really playing or recording anymore - at least live and releasing any new recordings. Although he might be recording for his own enjoyment, having cats over frequently, and jamming in his home studio after his day gig as a software engineer.

Who knows what his reasons were for choosing that path. He's been at the highest level in his field, influenced so many players (not just keyboard players) and having been around him a little, possesses as close to what could be considered a genius type mind. Perhaps he got sick of traveling and the road life. Bad pianos, changing musical tastes, etc etc etc. wink

man check this solo out starting @ 2:39. Not real long but brilliant ! I love his chordal changes he plays to fill a section, in addition to those short lines that run contrary to the melody. Subtle stuff but very sophisticated and just cool sounding.

What a crime he's not out in the public eye anymore.




There was a short thread on him here and his new career a few years back:
http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2835085/Lyle_Mays_Software_Manager

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 11/04/19 08:35 AM.
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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014855 11/04/19 11:59 AM
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That was beautiful. His LH provides beautiful independent support of the RH melodies. So masterful.

I saw Lyle with the Pat Metheny group in the late 70’s and was blown away. He makes the piano sing so beautifully. Such a wonderful touch. Such a sensitive player. His playing on Lone Jack is one of my favorites but I couldn’t find it on YouTube. Bumped into this concert footage while looking and love it.


Re: Lyle Mays
Al Quinn #3014863 11/04/19 01:25 PM
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Thanks for bringing this up Dave. In a small hidden room in my soul is a man that would be overjoyed upon the end of his life if he could say, “I got to 60% of Lyle Mays”. Seriously.

Ever since my first introduction to his playing (Travels Live) I’ve felt a sense of kindred spirits with him.

A differentiator in Lyle’s playing (of course IMHO) is what I think of as a European Classical sensibility. Too often when I listen to jazz pianists I’m thinking “Why are they banging on the piano?” Well I know the reason: jazz piano tradition comes from loud rooms and junk pianos. But Lyle, who in my experience always played live on his own Hamburg Steinway, played using the whole range of dynamics and a wider range of harmonic vocabulary. Like his mentor Bill Evans.

Unlike Evans, who returned from his first road trip with Miles Davis a flaming junkie, happy to give Miles full credit to Blue In Green for fix money, Lyle seems to have negotiated a soft (no pun intended) landing to touring. Here’s a reminder of what he and Pat thought about Bill.


Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014865 11/04/19 01:53 PM
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Lyle is amazing. He did a Ted Talk at Cal Tech in 2011. I can still hear hear the overwhelming joy of math, symmetries and taste.


Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014880 11/04/19 03:33 PM
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Lyle is 1 of my all time favorites . A great musician. His first 2 solo albums are burned into my brain.

Timeless.

The ted talk might cover Lyles commentary on the jazz scene. That was connected to his departure or not being in
eye of the music scene.

I recall an interview where he explained his priorities. Lyle is multi talented. I think he does software engineering- going from recollection.

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014892 11/04/19 04:44 PM
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Loved his 1st solo album... I do software engineering and there is no comparison....some folks say it's better to start music or I should say 'be successful' with music later in life.... computers are black and white...cut and dry sort of work..fulfilling to a degree
I will never understand that from him but anyway....

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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014898 11/04/19 05:52 PM
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Thanks, Dave! So inspiring...

I met Lyle's younger sister in the mid 1980s, when I worked for a midwest music dealer. Learned a lot about what it was like growing up with Lyle's creative spirit present; fascinating recollections. One thing she did mention was his command of jazz theory, even in middle school. He told her that it freed up his explorations greatly. She recalled that he always seemed to be playing - experimenting with all kinds of extensions and chord subs, which she found amazing at their age.

Another similar keyboardist/composer who's been a big influence is Fred Simon, from Chicago.






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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014924 11/04/19 08:36 PM
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Superb musician,,,

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3014935 11/04/19 09:01 PM
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I have always loved his playing. He is a natural evolution from Keith Jarrett. His Oberheim playing is gorgeous. His sense of drama and melody and simply beauty, is self evident


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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015059 11/05/19 08:10 PM
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After seeing and listening to Dave's post with the track on FB this morning, the Wikipedia page led me to this interview but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I'll file it with the Ted Talk as a todo. I suspect in one or both he talks about why he's no longer playing.

https://www.jazziz.com/lyle-mays/

P.S. At the Blue Note 80th anniversary concert Saturday night was James Francis, local HSPVA grad and apparently Pat Metheny's current pianist. He talked a little before the show about that gig, learning some of Lyle's parts, etc.


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Re: Lyle Mays
Joe Muscara #3015064 11/05/19 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
After seeing and listening to Dave's post with the track on FB this morning, the Wikipedia page led me to this interview but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I'll file it with the Ted Talk as a todo. I suspect in one or both he talks about why he's no longer playing.

Oops, I presumed the "TED Talk" link was a talk, instead, it's just a great performance. blush Thanks for that, though!


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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015072 11/05/19 09:39 PM
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Wow, what a great solo.


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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015084 11/06/19 12:40 AM
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Thank you so much for this thread. Lyle's work has always touched me in such a profound way. Yes, his soloing is remarkable, but his writing and orchestration are what really blow me away.

I've always wondered where the delineation of talents were with his work with Pat. I've always guessed that Lyle contributed the more structured, symphonic-like work, but I'm only guessing. Songs like First Circle, Minuano, Have You Heard, Beat 70, Something to Remind You and so much of As Falls Wichita all seem like his handiwork, but I could be completely wrong. There's so much emotional depth in his work. And every time I hear Close to Home I'm just floored.

I'd be curious to know what happened to his relationship with Pat. I've never read anything about why they're not together.

What statement about what's become of the music industry when a talent like Lyle can't make a living. That jazziz.com interview broke my heart.

Re: Lyle Mays
PianoMan51 #3015155 11/06/19 11:38 PM
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Wow!

"In a small hidden room in my soul is a man that would be overjoyed upon the end of his life if he could say, “I got to 60% of Lyle Mays”

I could not agree more. You bring a tear to my eye with that line... I gave up playing music for a living but it's still in my soul.

Thank you


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Re: Lyle Mays
Motif88 #3015157 11/07/19 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Motif88
Wow!

"In a small hidden room in my soul is a man that would be overjoyed upon the end of his life if he could say, “I got to 60% of Lyle Mays”

I could not agree more. You bring a tear to my eye with that line... I gave up playing music for a living but it's still in my soul.

Thank you

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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015176 11/07/19 11:45 AM
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Pizzafilms, I too would assume the writing devolved along the lines you mentioned. It's legitimate to conduct a "memetic analysis" based on the types of ideas each of them used for their personal songs. Still, there was also that magical connection between them right? The whole seemed greater than the sum of the parts. Perhaps their melodic lyricism comes in part from a shared aspiration between them: the type of mountain it takes two to climb.

We are so fortunate for their body of work. Listening to Lyle's "close to home" right now ... thank you.

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015688 11/12/19 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
He has a large discography to go through and pick out great moments. For me though, this might be one of his best -- this live version where he plays an absolutely stunning solo on the beautiful Metheny standard, "James".
I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that's he's not really playing or recording anymore - at least live and releasing any new recordings. Although he might be recording for his own enjoyment, having cats over frequently, and jamming in his home studio after his day gig as a software engineer.

Who knows what his reasons were for choosing that path. He's been at the highest level in his field, influenced so many players (not just keyboard players) and having been around him a little, possesses as close to what could be considered a genius type mind. Perhaps he got sick of traveling and the road life. Bad pianos, changing musical tastes, etc etc etc. wink

man check this solo out starting @ 2:39. Not real long but brilliant ! I love his chordal changes he plays to fill a section, in addition to those short lines that run contrary to the melody. Subtle stuff but very sophisticated and just cool sounding.

What a crime he's not out in the public eye anymore.

There was a short thread on him here and his new career a few years back:
http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2835085/Lyle_Mays_Software_Manager

Thanks for posting this, Dave!!

This is one of my favorites of Lyle's as well. I was able to see them play it during their First Circle tour in Ames (~1984?).

This performance and recording is phenomenal. Lyle has such a wonderful balance between the chordal and single line solo. To me, it sounds like he is sometimes channeling George Shearing.

I'm not sure what the date is of this performance, but Lyle is at the top of his game here. He literally blew Pat Metheny off the bandstand (not that it was a competition) in that it was at a level significantly above Pat. Pat's sounded phoned in using the same blues licks (twice) he always uses on this tune.

I certainly hope Lyle will be back with us sometime and is lying low and working on something. My guess is he had had enough of the relentless 200+ date touring year after year after year. Combine that with Lyle being scary technical/academic, smart and I'll bet he saw some (hopefully temporary) greener pastures.

Another recording of Lyle at the top of his game is the Ludwigsburg Concert (Lyle Mays Quartet w/ Marc Johnson)
Caution Bass intro 1st 3 min:


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Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015951 11/13/19 03:58 AM
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In a sense I suppose someone like Lyle might even find opportunities limited outside of the orbit of the Pat Metheny band.

Can you imagine trying to put together a group..... with touring hassles....encountering the unknown with each new city etc.etc.etc.

How many of us tried to do it in our younger years and just put up with so many headaches just because we were young and foolish, or because our dream of playing music would not die easily?

Not for the faint of heart.

The Metheny band must have toured quite a bit. After a point, ANYTHING can get tiring. To a degree even that gig would have its share of compromise. it wasn't " The Lyle Mays Band " after all.

I agree, he is a musician to be reckoned with.

Retirement is something that well balanced people look forward to. Some people drag it all out too long. If you really think about it there are many out there who are pushing it past their prime.

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015985 11/13/19 11:34 AM
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Thanks guys, for this dive into Lyle Mays. Lyle's touch, feel and playing is wonderful. I remember when the Pat Metheny Group played My Father's Place in Roslyn (late 1970s) and I planned to go, but didn't. I don't remember why I missed the show - and I regretted that. I guess it's never too late.

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3015995 11/13/19 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
He has a large discography to go through and pick out great moments. For me though, this might be one of his best -- this live version where he plays an absolutely stunning solo on the beautiful Metheny standard, "James".


AMAZING playing. Lyle was my first hero on the piano, and - luckily for me - it has basically stayed that way. He's got it all, melodically, harmonically, the songwriting. And it's easy to listen to, I love the way he weaves elements of country as well as Brazilian music effortlessly together. Thanks for the link, the "James" solo is killer..!

Re: Lyle Mays
JazzPiano88 #3016060 11/13/19 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JazzPiano88


Another recording of Lyle at the top of his game is the Ludwigsburg Concert (Lyle Mays Quartet w/ Marc Johnson)
Caution Bass intro 1st 3 min:


This whole album is stunning - a must-have for anyone who appreciates Lyle. Especially considering his meager output as a solo artist.

I reviewed it for Keyboard a while ago:
My review

I've spoken to Lyle a number of times over the last 5 years, and we discussed his "retirement". He told me he was careful, and saved a lot of his money from the glory days of the PMG. He bought a nice car, and so didn't need another, he paid off his house, no need for a bigger one. Things like that. So when the big money was coming in he was careful/responsible with it, and he can live very comfortably now. Given the difficult state of trying to sell, and to consider touring for highly artistic music such as his, he just sees it as a difficult path to travel, especially considering he's not in his 20's - 30's anymore. It all makes sense on that level to me. What I couldn't understand, and he never really addressed clearly to me was: does he still have the desire to just play, or to create music for itself... to just get together and play with other musicians for the simple joy of it? I can't speak to that from my recollection. He is a brilliant and very serious guy, a deep thinker who chooses his words carefully and doesn't BS about anything.

From a purely selfish standpoint I wish he would just do some simple shows, for web broadcast, or some other method that doesn't require the rigors and costs of touring. Just think back to those Spectrasonics video performances, it was so great to hear him jam with Alex Acuna. I'd take any crumbs he saw fit to give us...

Jerry

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3016996 11/21/19 04:12 PM
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Before this thread dies off into the pages of past posts, I have wanted to comment on this thread, but it is hard for me find the correct words to describe the impact Lyle Mays’ music and skills have had on me. I have said in a previous thread on Mays (and Metheny) that, in my opinion, he is one of the most important contemporary composers and pianists that exist in my lifetime (I’m now 61 years old). I am honored to have lived to watch Lyle Mays perform and create over many decades. I liken it to being a contemporary to Bach or Chopin. I believe I have witnessed musical history.


Fortunately, I don’t need to find the words to describe Lyle Mays’ artistry. Just listen to this live recording of “Stella by Starlight”. Lyle Mays says all that needs to be said.




Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3017002 11/21/19 05:12 PM
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I've always liked Lyle's playing but been lazy about seeking out his stuff. Thanks for that youtube - just beautiful playing. It really makes me laugh to remember his interview where he says he doesn't consider himself a jazz player!

Re: Lyle Mays
unitjazz #3017008 11/21/19 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by unitjazz
Fortunately, I don’t need to find the words to describe Lyle Mays’ artistry. Just listen to this live recording of “Stella by Starlight”. Lyle Mays says all that needs to be said.








Thanks for posting, I'd never heard that before. That was really stunning ! The rubato section and his reharm were on the level of anything Herbie did with Miles. Very personal and unique sounding. Although I do hear a definite Jarrett influence, in addition to others.

I recall he did a clinic at the Musician's Institute in Hollywood a long time ago (maybe late 80'/early '90s) , while I was still teaching there. Bob Sheppard, Tom Warrington and Steve Houghton played. He talked about music , his process and played a few standards (I can't recall what) that he gave this same treatment. Very inspiring...to say the least.

And thanks JazzPiano88 for the Ludwigsburg Concert with Shep, Marc Johnson and Mark Walker. Another lost but thankfully found gem ! Very nice words too on your review Jerry.

Also thanks Allan on the Fred Simon track, I highly enjoyed that. He's been around a long time, yet under the radar. He writes great music and has wonderful groups. You can hear some of the similarities and influences between the two.

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 11/21/19 06:12 PM. Reason: added thoughts
Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3017062 11/22/19 11:20 AM
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Wow, that trio recording of Stella is amazing! Thanks for sharing. Lyle is brilliant

Re: Lyle Mays
Dave Ferris #3017069 11/22/19 01:53 PM
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The song that introduced me (I'm late to the Lyle Mays game) is a Pat Metheney gem called, Letter from Home. It's a slow, absolutely perfect short piece that hooked me from the first second I heard it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVFkUR2UTJ4


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Re: Lyle Mays
allan_evett #3017071 11/22/19 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by allan_evett


Another similar keyboardist/composer who's been a big influence is Fred Simon, from Chicago.






Wow, really like that melody line. VERY Windham Hill-esque. Thanks for sharing this.


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