R.I.P. Lyle Mays

dsop

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Lyle Mays, a jazz keyboardist whose work, chiefly with the Pat Metheny Group, won nearly a dozen Grammy Awards, died Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. He was 66.
The death, of unspecified causes, was announced on Pat Metheny’s website.
He co-founded the Pat Metheny Group with guitarist Metheny in the 1970s, where he was a performer, composer and arranger. The group’s fusion style incorporated rock, contemporary jazz and world music.
The group won jazz fusion performance Grammys, and some for best contemporary jazz album, including 2005’s award for “The Way Up.” But the group also scored an award in 1998 for best rock instrumental performance for “The Roots of Coincidence.”

Mr. Mays also was a sideman for albums by jazz, rock and pop artists, including Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones and the group Earth, Wind & Fire. He helped compose soundtrack music for several movies, including “The Falcon and the Snowman” (1985).
Lyle David Mays was born in Wausaukee, Wis., on Nov. 27, 1953. His mother and father played piano and guitar, and he played organ as a youngster.
Mr. Mays, who cherished the technical and analytical aspects of his craft as well as the improvisational part, also was a self-taught computer programmer and architect who designed a house for a relative.
 

Drumprof

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Wow. That’s quite a loss. He was a North Texas guy that made a career with Metheny. Incredible talent and player.
 

Fat Drummer

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Oh, this really just hit me hard. The original first 3 Pat Metheny Group records have composed the soundtrack of my adult life. If that sounds rather heady, I meant it that way as it is an accurate statement. Rest well Lyle... my thoughts and prayers with his family and friends.
 

MntnMan62

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Truly a sad day. I remember when the first album Pat Metheny Group came out. I was in high school and my friend and I would crank that album as often as we could. I think I saw Metheny live during high school and early college years 5 times. That was such a great time for music. I'm am bummed to hear of Lyle's passing. He was such a good writer and keyboardist. Loved his sound. He will be dearly missed.
 

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Sometime around 1989 I received by mistake his Street Dreams CD from a record club. I had never even heard of him before. That album has been in my rotation ever since. Possible Straight is on my short list of favorite songs. It's not flashy as far as drums go but it resonated with me then and still does today. RIP Lyle.
 

VintageUSA

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When I was in music school in Dallas, Mays was playing in the One O'clock Lab Band up in Denton, under the direction of the late, great Leon Breeden...............in 1975, the drummer of that lab band was Steve Houghton, who, by the very next year, would be my jazz kit instructor at my college..............great memories.

On Sunday evenings, it was common for some of the lab band members to show up at the Strictly Taboo Club located at Lemmon and Lomo Alto in Dallas..............we would feast on great pizza pies and pitchers of beer while being entertained by some of the best swing players in the country............just amazing.

Last time I heard from Houghton, he had made full professor at Indiana University.

RIP Lyle Mays............jazz pianist extraordinaire.
 

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Too young! And so good. He created such atmospheres for and with Mr. Metheny. I saw them on the "van tour" when I was 18 and a floundering music student. Gottlieb on drums. Very inspirational. Then about 20 years later with Metheny, the large, very Brazilian band with Wertico. Amazing music. And, yes, his work on Joni Mitchell's Shadow and Light - sublime.

Though too short, a life in music well-lived, I'll offer.
 

Elvis

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Very sad to see.
I met Pat and Lyle at a concert about 15-20 years ago.
Pat was taking in the night after a wonderful show and he just stood there, very stoic, and didn't say much.
Lyle on the other hand seemed like he may have held the title 'Party King" in his younger days.
A good guy to have a beer with, I'm sure.
Condolences to Mays family.

Elvis
 

Pounder

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I also was a fan. The tone he made with his Oberheim synth was a huge component to the Pat Metheny group sound. His playing can be found elsewhere, he put out solo albums and played with other players on other recordings.
 

drummerbill

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Took a while for me to post about Lyle. I saw Lyle a few times with Pat, but my most memorable was with my wife and parents @ the Beacon Theater in NYC a couple decades ago.
A musician friend had a girlfriend that ran PM's fan club and got us dead center 12th row "audiophile seats" . First jazz show I have ever been to that the FOH sound engineer gradually brought the volume mix up as the show progressed and lighting intensified. Pretty sure it was Paul Wertico on drums. At one point my eyes closed and my mom and wife commented about feeling like we where in a deep dream.
Pat and Lyle had a very unique sonic brotherhood, glad I experienced their gift !!!!
 

ARGuy

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I became aware of Lyle Mays when a friend of mine that had played in the One O'Clock band at NTSU played for me the album that band recorded in 1975. He was raving about the piano player that had written all but one tune on the album and had arranged all of them. That was something that had never been done before, and I don't believe has been done since by a band member. I still listen to that album and those charts.
 

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