Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Mays, Lyle (David)

Mays, Lyle (David), piano, keyboards, composition; b. Wausaukee, WI, 27 November 1953.

As a teenager, Lyle attended jazz summer camps and studied with such talents as Rich Matteson and Marian McPartland. He then studied composition and arrangement at North Texas State University before touring with Woody Herman's Thundering Herd. Was a member of the NTSU Lab Band, who released an album (Jazz Lab 1975 Band) featuring his compositions and arrangements. While appearing at the 1975 Wichita Jazz Festival, Lyle met twenty-year-old guitarist, Pat Metheny. Lyle moved to Boston in 1977, and the two formed a musical alliance that has proven to be among the most artistically successful of the past two decades. In addition to winning 9 Grammy Awards with the Pat Metheny Group, Lyle has been nominated 4 times for his own work. In 1994 Lyle composed the piece "12 Days in the Shadow" of a Miracle as a commissioned piece for the Debussy Trio. In 1988, he composed 3 chamber music pieces this year: "Somewhere in Maine": For violin, marimba and tape, commissioned and recorded by the group, Marimolin. His piece "Balance" was performed by the renowned Boston-based contemporary composers group, Composers in Red Sneakers. His piece "Varying Lengths" was composed for 7 percussionists and synthesizer. Its premiere was conducted by Barry Jekowsky and performed by members of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Lyle majored in music at North Texas State University. He cites the influence on his work of: Paul Bley, Chick Corea's work with Airto Moreira, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock's early fusion work (Headhunters) and protofusion work with Miles Davis (Filles de Kilimanjaro, In a Silent Way), Keith Jarrett, and Josef Zawinul's first Weather Report album. He returned to live in Wisconsin 1991, near Madison; in the late 1990s he moved to the Los Angeles area.

Recordings (selected):
The Music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays;Lyle Mays (1986); Street Dreams (1989); Fictionary (1993); Solo (1998)
As sideperson:
Pat Metheny: Pat Metheny Group (1978), American Garage (1979), As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls (1981), Offramp (1982), Travels (1983), first Circle (1984), Falcon And The Snowman soundtrack (1985), Still Life (Talking) (1987), Letter From Home (1989), The Road To You (1993), We Live Here (1995), Quartet (1996), Imaginary Day (1997); Pat Coil: Schemes and Dreams; Paul McCandless: Premonition; Bob Moses: When Elephants Dream of Music; Noa: Noa; Steve Swallow: Home; Toots Thielemans East Coast, West Coast; Eberhard Weber: Later That Evening; Igor Butman: Falling Out 

Film soundtracks (as composer):
Mrs. Soffel (1984); Fandango (1984); The Falcon and the Snowman (co-written with Pat Metheny, 1985); Orphans  (play directed by Gary Sinise; ran in Chicago, off-Broadway and London, 1986); The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr. Jeremy Fisher (1986); East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1992); Moses the Law Giver (1993); The Lion and the Lamb (1993); Mustang: The Hidden Kingdom (1994)

Bibliography:
Down Beat, July 1983
July 1986 issue of Keyboard
The Music of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays (Hal Leonard).

Awards:
1975:Grammy nomination, Best Jazz Composition: "F.M."
1975:Grammy nomination, Best Jazz Performance: Jazz Lab 1975 Band
1981:Grammy nomination, Instrumental Composition: "As Falls Wichita, So
Falls Wichita Falls" (w/ Pat Metheny)
1982:Grammy nomination, Instrumental Composition: "Are You Going With
Me?" (w/ Pat Metheny)
1986:Grammy nomination, Jazz Fusion Performance: Lyle Mays
Jazziz Magazine Readers Poll: Best Jazz Album
Jazziz Readers Poll: Best Jazz Keyboardist
1987:Grammy nomination, Instrumental Composition: "Minuano (Six Eight)"
(w/ Pat Metheny)
1994:Grammy nomination, Instrumental Composition: "Half-Life of
Absolution" (w/ Pat Metheny)

Websites:
Interview with Mike Brannon: http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=657
http://www.lylemays.com/ (fan site)
www.patmethenygroup.com

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