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Lyle Mays


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Music

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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 Mar 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B00004SE3T
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,697 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Alex Fell on 11 Mar 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have often wondered what Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays individually bring to the party for the Pat Metheny Group albums. I love the PMG stuff because, at its best, it is both fantastically structured, almost orchestral jazz in which are embedded some fantastic jazz solos (many of them Mr Mays as well as the eponymous Pat). Yet, by himself Metheny seems to produce small group, conventional jazz records and his solo-written pieces for the PMG are likewise fairly low-key, straight-ish jazz. Is the presiding genius who produces the complex, highly arranged and orchestrated compositions of the PMG the relatively uncelebrated Lyle Mays instead?
On the evidence of this album, yes it is. In a sense, there isn't much difference between this and a PMG album, except that there are more piano solos. The tunes are accessible yet possessing an intricate musical architecture. However, there are in fact some significant differences. The tunes are probably a bit less populist and tunefully subtle, rather than the sunny crowd-pleasers that the PMG might come up with (though they are still hum-able and foot-tapping). And the sidemen, in particular Bill Frissell on guitar, give the music a different dynamic. Mays is very much the star of the show on this album - he has almost all the (excellent) solos and dominates proceedings (fair enough - it IS a Lyle Mays album, after all).
For me, a number of tunes stand out: Highland Aire, a sort of Scottish jig meets calypso, is an excellent opener and, while not the most convincing example of "folk jazz", is nevertheless a merry and engaging piece; Slink, as the name suggests, is sinuous and dark; Alaskan Suite - Ascent starts with a sinisterly funky groove before moving on to an emphatic climax; and Close to Home is a tender, wistful ballad.
Certainly, this equals the best of the PMG, and may surpass it. Anyone fond of the Pat Metheny Group should get this and revel in what Mr Mays can produce by himself.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 May 2000
Format: Audio CD
Many people remember where they were when Kennedy was shot. I remember the day I bought 'Lyle Mays', and brought him home. For 3 years, I played this CD every day. From the opening notes of Highland Aire, which I tried to 'play' on the edge of my desk, to the soundscapes of the Northern Lights, this was music for the soul. I remember a night on the Suisnish peninsula on Skye, when we sat under a full moon amongst the ruins of crofts emptied in the Highland Clearances and played 'Northern Lights', with its plaintive notes drifting in and out of the wind - cosmic! And the final track, 'Close to Home' is my favourite piece of all - one to play when you're coming to the end of a long journey, and just back amongst familiar neighbourhoods. Lyle Mays is God.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Oct 2008
Format: Audio CD
As another reviewer points out one has to ask what the Pat Metheny Group would be without Lyle Mays? With a couple of exceptions I don't get terribly excited about Pat's side projects, which tend to be straight ahead jazz, that consists mainly of ballads that all seem to blur into a pleasant enough but not particularly startling formula.

It seems that only with Lyle on board that we get into that huge symphonic dimension that transcends, dare I say it, 'mere' jazz? To become what I've seen described elsewhere as a 'visionary hemispheric fusion', that stretches traditional genres beyond their limits. So is Lyle the real genius? Listening to his solo effort Street Dreams you'd have to conclude no, which is an unconvincing mish-mash of superbly played, quirky but uninspiring pieces. Listening perhaps to his Solo: Improvisations for Expanded Piano, you would hear what is a very beautiful album, but is an ambient and meandering affair that would give no indications of the awesome power he can unleash when working with Pat.

This album however is the one that says yes. This is as good as any PMG album having everything that you'd expect except Pat's solos. All the compositions are of outstanding sophistication and speak either of immense power or heart-rending beauty, or both. All include Lyle soloing at his best, and there are plenty of his extremely original synth patches that can give his work such great individuality. The supporting cast are stellar.
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