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Lyle Mays thread

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Let's talk about Lyle Mays...

 

I've recently heard that he MIDIed his classical grand piano.

 

Can you tell me about his live rig during those many years?

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There's not much out on Lyle. I drop in on the Pat Metheny Group site occasionally, but even there Lyle isn't prominent. I am still digging The Way Up. It takes me a while to figure out what he's doing. I love his playing; the way he helps that ensemble just wash over you. I'd go see them live if they ever get back down to Dallas/Denton. I like your tribute band. I saw Dire Straits live about 15 yrs ago after they put out "On Every Street" - one of the best I ever saw.

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Keyboard magazine had an interview with Lyle a couple of months back. He did indeed MIDI his Steinway grand.

 

I first saw the Pat Metheny Group in 1979 or '80, and Lyle was playing piano, autoharp, an Oberheim 4-voice and some sort of small Yamaha organ....Metheny's guitar playing was so amazing and intimidating to watch that I saw the error of my ways in trying to learn guitar and returned to my keyboard roots.

 

I've seen a Kurzweil K250 in his rig many years ago (he consulted on the voicing for that beast) and the "Speaking of Now Live" DVD shows the MIDI'd grand, two Triton's and what may be a K2600 in his rig.

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Originally posted by daviel

them live if they ever get back down to Dallas/Denton. I like your tribute band. I saw Dire Straits live about 15 yrs ago after they put out "On Every Street" - one of the best I ever saw.

 

 

thanks for your appreciations...:D

I'm very glad to recieve overseas appreciations...

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I'd still like to know how he performed his parts to "Imaginary Day" live. I watched his hands and was still confused...

 

He's still my favorite keyboardist!

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Metheny and Mays are my 2 favorite living musicians. I see the PMG every opportunity I can get.

 

I give him a lot of credit for carting around a real Hamburg Steinway during those early PMG years when they "barnstormed" their way from venue to venue across the country. But a real piano is such an essential part of band's sound that no substitute would do.

 

One of my favorite synth tones is Mays' Oberheim 4 Voice that you hear on "the white album" (ex. the out choruses of "Phase Dance"). It's fat but airy, it's a synth yet sounds so organic*. Another is the "synth melodica" on "Are You Going With Me", which IIRC is a Korg DW8000.

 

* I spoke (briefly) with Metheny in person last fall. I used the word "organic" to describe the electronic sounds in his band. He liked that description.

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+10 from here. Mays is just unreal. In fact the whole band is just unreal.

 

I think they used to rely on the Synclavier a bit for some pre-sequencing moves. You wouldn't have heard the click they'd have had to had used; it probably got sent to the foldback speakers (or, nowadays, the in-ear monitors) but not to FOH.

 

The PMG forum at his site has become a waste of time; politics account for two-thirds of the posts there and fanboys the other third. Not a lot of actual musicianspeak.

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The first Lyle Mays album/CD is a classic.

 

The Way Up is a sensational CD. I look forward to everyone of Lyle's parts

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Interesting interview with Lyle ..

 

http://interview.sonikmatter.com/data/lyle_mays.php

 

Part of his ability to make synths organic is his recognition of their limitations. The DW8000 part in Are You Going With Me had an lfo modulating pitch quite significantly. So if he held the note down, it would go out of tune. It allowed him to play pitch drop at the end of the harmonica phrase, while keeping the other hand free for comping/pads. He discussed this in Keyboard magazine IIRC.

 

Sometime in the mid 1990's I saw him switch to mostly K2500 series synths. On one of those occasions I saw him using a VL1 for the harmonica. It later left the line-up. The Obie four-voice was a tremendous source of sonic power when it was in the line-up. He uses those deep horn/brass timbres very well to support the band, when the voices and the guitars soar high and a strong foundation is needed to support them. He also did the power pads on a Matrix 12 at some point. :thu:

 

I didn't think the Kurzes did those power-pads as well as the Obie. But I guess you win and lose in the evolution of your gear list.

 

I admire the Lyle's restraint, technique and taste. Totally. :love:

 

Jerry

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After reading about Lyle in that interview I kind of think he comes across as being a bit pissy...

 

Shame really... I think his synth work was pretty nice and unique if not that complicated. If he didn't have that sound he wouldn't really have been that different to 100s of other pianists that came up through the 70s...

 

btw the Pat Metheny band of the 80s (Mays, Metheny, Egan) must have created the biggest furballs known to man on the tour bus...

 

 

 

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lyle_mays-1.jpg

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Originally posted by orangefunk

After reading about Lyle in that interview I kind of think he comes across as being a bit pissy...

 

I think I know which interview you're talking about. He must have been fed up with being asked the same stupid questions year after year. I've read other Lyle interviews where he came across as a nicer guy.

 

Similar thing with John McLaughlin. In most interviews, he's a kindly, spiritual dude. But in one interview, he comes across as pissed off. :D

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Yep.. his piano playing completely rules though... I have a video of him playing on the Travels tour which sounds like hes miming as the sound is so damn rich but his hands are note for note perfect on that damn piano!

 

I wonder if they use a lot of pre-recorded backing in PMG? The sound can be dense at times...

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I have such a huge collection of Pat Metheny CD's....

 

Favorite melody so far is the introduction to "Watercolors", title-track. Just listen to that beautiful piano and guitar arrangement...

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Well now. I am sorry I posted that link. :(

 

Lyle Mays (if you listen to him in person) is one of the most humble yet thoughtful musicians out there. His words sound like his music. He was being realistic about the limitations of synths (IMO) and caused some crossed wires in that interview.

 

Here is a picture of him in a better context. You'll see the love hate relationship he has with synths more clearly here.

 

http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=657

 

 

Jerry

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Originally posted by MarkZ

Another is the "synth melodica" on "Are You Going With Me", which IIRC is a Korg DW8000.

 

the GR-300 solo on that song is one of the two songs that made me buy mine.

 

you're right. those guys _are_ really fucking cool.

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Another big Mays / Metheny fan here. I have 6 or 7 Metheny / Mays CDs and Joni Mitchell's Shadows and Light on Laserdisc. Mays, Mitchell, Metheny, Brecker, Alias, and Jaco - what a lineup!

 

Mays plays beautifully, but stays pretty much in the background on that concert, with his only spotlight being a nice boogie piano intro on Dry Cleaner from Des Moines. And his famous Oberheim is quite visable throughout the concert.

 

I always thought Mays complemented Metheny perfectly, which is likely why the two have stayed together for nearly 30 years.

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Well I guess everyone is entitled to an off day. :D I don't really see how he can say synths suck though... they are all over the PMG material...

 

Are synths as expressive as pianos? Probably not... but then pianos don't make sounds that transport you to another world like a synth does... I mean imagine a track like "To the end of the World" without synths and technology.... imagine it done in the old jazz quartet style... wouldn't be half the tune it is...

 

There is so much emotion in synths... it seems to have become a trend for people to slate synths... (even a band like Tangerine Dream!).... but I'm completely the other way, I recognise their importance and their contribution to modern music...

 

 

Originally posted by Tusks

Well now. I am sorry I posted that link.
:(

Lyle Mays (if you listen to him in person) is one of the most humble yet thoughtful musicians out there. His words sound like his music. He was being realistic about the limitations of synths (IMO) and caused some crossed wires in that interview.


Here is a picture of him in a better context. You'll see the love hate relationship he has with synths more clearly here.


http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=657



Jerry

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Originally posted by Tusks

Part of his ability to make synths organic is his recognition of their limitations. The DW8000 part in Are You Going With Me had an lfo modulating pitch quite significantly. So if he held the note down, it would go out of tune. It allowed him to play pitch drop at the end of the harmonica phrase, while keeping the other hand free for comping/pads. He discussed this in Keyboard magazine IIRC.

 

Yeah I have that article, the one from 1986 I think. His gear at that time also included an Oberheim 8-voice and Kurzweil 250. The original harmonica line on Are You Going With Me was done on the Synclavier (as shown in the video to said tune) but later ported over to the DW-8000 (which I think does that sound immaculately!)

 

Originally posted by Tusks

Sometime in the mid 1990's I saw him switch to mostly K2500 series synths. On one of those occasions I saw him using a VL1 for the harmonica. It later left the line-up. The Obie four-voice was a tremendous source of sonic power when it was in the line-up. He uses those deep horn/brass timbres very well to support the band, when the voices and the guitars soar high and a strong foundation is needed to support them. He also did the power pads on a Matrix 12 at some point.
:thu:

 

I have a video of the We Live Here tour (1994), his gear was a Roland JX-10 on top of the Yamaha grand, a DW-8000, and a Kurzweil K2000 below the Korg. There was probably some rack gear too.

 

I have been following this band without pause since 1983. Lyle is without question my main keyboard/synth influence. And yes that first album of his is just awesome, I have learned to play Highland Aire and feature that song in my solo jazz set (great song!).

 

I have also met Pat in person backstage in 1984 following a benefit concert for Collin Walcott of Oregon, who had just died in a bus crash in Germany a week before. A whole slew of ECM recording artists showed up for that gig: Don Cherry, Jack DeJohnette, John Abercrombie, Paul McCandless, and others.

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Originally posted by ChipCurtis





I have also met Pat in person backstage in 1984 following a benefit concert for Collin Walcott of Oregon, who had just died in a bus crash in Germany a week before. A whole slew of ECM recording artists showed up for that gig: Don Cherry, Jack DeJohnette, John Abercrombie, Paul McCandless, and others.

 

I'd have loved to have seen that gig....

 

I have the 1976 ECM All Stars at the Village Gate on CDR (it was broadcast on radio at the time) and it blows me away... esp the acoustic version of "Timeless" with Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie and Collin Walcott....

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I don't mean to go OT...

 

I, too, was an Oregon fan during the late '70s-early '80s. Back then, I liked Colin Walcott's playing so much that I nearly bought a sitar from some funky little music store in Greenwich Village. I passed on it when I considered that I'd never learn to play it well. I should have bought tablas instead.

 

There is/was SO much great music on ECM. Way too many albums to mention. Everything on the label sounded amazing on the audio equipment of the day (think circa 1980...going into a high-end stereo store...hearing the PMG "white album" or "American Garage" on a great pair of speakers). Great album artwork, too.

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Originally posted by MarkZ

I don't mean to go OT...


There is/was SO much great music on ECM. Way too many albums to mention. Everything on the label sounded amazing on the audio equipment of the day (think circa 1980...going into a high-end stereo store...hearing the PMG "white album" or "American Garage" on a great pair of speakers). Great album artwork, too.

 

:thu: +1000

 

When I first heard an ECM LP I thought that this was the music I'd been searching for all my life... years later (last year in fact!) I came across Rainer Bruninghaus' "Freigeweht" from 1980, and that to me still sounds incredibly fresh! So fresh, its the blueprint for the current band I have... in that I have to play piano, synths, sequencer and keybass while my drummer and guitarist add their stuff...

 

Astonishing music..

 

"Is it jazz?"...a cry often raised by its detractors... who gives a damn... this is great music that can't be categorised...

 

Btw. I bought a set of tablas after hearing Oregons "Friends" LP from 1977... one of my all time fav LPs... even though theres a nasty bit of distortion on my vinyl copy in the middle of Time Remembered.... great great tune...

 

I also bought Paul McCandless' All the Mornings Bring and Art Lande's Red Atlanta among many others... not to mention Keith Jarrett... Azimuth, Kenny Wheeler et al...

 

I could talk ECM all day, thats the effect it has on me...

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Time Remembered? The Bill Evans tune?

 

Mays has cited Evans as a major influence-- even titled the leadoff song on Fictionary after him.

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