R.I.P. Lyle Mays

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humprof

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
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A sad loss. I first heard Mays's playing on the Pat Metheny Group's self-titled 1978 debut album. (Well, I first heard a preview cut on Grand Rapids, Michigan's WLAV-FM, which was then one of those "progressive rock" stations where you could hear an hour-long commercial-free set that might range from Genesis to Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull to Steely Dan.) That record was my gateway drug to ECM, and Mays's long improvisation on the opening track, "San Lorenzo," taught me how to understand a well-built jazz solo.

Sadly, too, those early PMG albums with Mays on ECM have never been mixed for surround and probably never will be. But this would be a good day to haul out the DVD-A of Imaginary Day...
 
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humprof

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Nice remembrance posted yesterday to Jazz Times. And Jeffrey Siegel put together a tribute show for his Straight No Chaser podcast. His intro reminded me that Mays had recorded with EW&F and Rickie Lee Jones (didn't know that) as well as Joni Mitchell (did know that). But these words really spoke to me:

Lyle Mays played an important role in my jazz education. For people looking for innovative music in the Seventies, the music of the Pat Metheny Group, co-founded by Metheny and Mays, was a revalation. From the soaring sound of their self-titled "White Album" on ECM through their evolution as a band - and they WERE a band - that mixed electric jazz, rock, world and folk influences into a sound unlike any I had ever heard.​
While Pat was the center of attention, Lyle was quietly the part that held things together, playing piano and keyboards to form the foundation for his guitarist's explorations. He co-wrote tunes for the Group, many of which were among their finest. It was his orchestrations, arrangements, and harmonization for the band. As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls, a collaboration with Metheny was a revelation to me, taking me places I did not know were possible musically.​
 

Jim the Oldbie

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Oh no! So sorry to hear this.

Lyle was a humble master. His solo albums are still among my favorite instrumental music, and Wichita Falls is just magic. "September Fifteenth" is some of the prettiest music that ever was.

Such sad news.
 

humprof

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Listening now to what's known as the "Ludwigsburg Concert" on Apple Music. (This was a new one to me; I discovered it after buying a couple of other items on the JazzHaus/SWR label from Berkshire Record Outlet.) Fabulous set, and it sounds great through my AVR's Dolby Surround Upmixer...
 
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