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Lyle Mays

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Lyle Mays - Lyle Mays [Geffen Records GHS 24097] (1986)

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Lyle Mays


Lyle Mays

Released: 1986
Label: Geffen Records
Catalog: GHS 24097
Country: USA
Pressing: Wakefield Manufacturing - 44814
Genre: Jazz, Contemporary Jazz

T R A C K L I S T:
01 Highland Aire
02 Teiko
03 Slink
04 Mirror Of The Heart
05 Alaskan Suite (Northern Lights, Invocation, Ascent)
06 Close To Home
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Album Review

Richard S. Ginell []

Lyle Mays waited a long, long time before straying from the Pat Metheny Group to issue his first solo album, but when he did, the results were at once removed but not totally untethered to the Metheny sound and feeling. On his own, Mays' synthesizer solos and textures are close in sound to what he was doing in the Metheny group, but the turns of phrases in his acoustic piano solos reflect the heavy shadow of Keith Jarrett. ''Highland Aire'' naturally has a buoyant, wistful Scottish flavor; ''Teiko'' begins with a wash of synths and then offers a mechanical rhythm that is vaguely Asian in feeling; and ''Slink'' is the closest the album comes to the floating Metheny groove. Although the 14-minute ''Alaskan Suite'' forms the centerpiece of the LP's side two, the entire side could be considered a suite as a whole, with a ruminative piano solo ''Mirror of the Heart'' preceding ''Alaskan Suite,'' and ''Close to Home'' reprising the twinkling, burbling shafts of synthesizer of ''Alaskan Suite'''s opening. Bill Frisell gives Mays a different yet no less musical and enterprising guitar foil; drummer Alex Acuna and Metheny group percussionist Nana Vasconcelos are as flexible a team as Mays could want. Marc Johnson is on bass and Billy Drewes is on alto and soprano sax. A very pleasing, thoroughly musical solo debut.

Lyle Mays's Biography

Scott Yanow []

Lyle Mays' style was difficult to describe, more atmospheric (with plenty of unique colors) than swinging and an invaluable part of the sound of the Pat Metheny Group.

Mays played and composed for the North Texas State University Lab Band in the mid-'70s. He met Metheny in 1975, toured with Woody Herman's Orchestra (1975-1976), and then joined Metheny's band, continuing to play with the guitarist's group. Mays, who was also an excellent acoustic pianist, recorded several albums as a leader for Geffen, including the excellent work Fictionary in 1992 and Solo in 2000. Lyle Mays died on February 10, 2020, after a long illness.
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