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  • 21st Century Dizzy: Danilo Perez and Friends
  • Angelique Kidjo
  • Ann Hampton Callaway
  • Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway - Sibling Revelry
  • Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway in Boom!
  • Artie Shaw Orchestra
  • Arturo Sandoval
  • Ashley Kahn: Spoken Moments
  • Barrence Whitfield And The Savages
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  • Béla Fleck
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  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Lyle Mays

     

    "For this record, " says LYLE MAYS of his album SOLO (Improvisations for Expanded Piano), "I decided it had to be a mixture of electronics, computer, synthesizer and grand piano. It couldn't be a solo piano album. That wouldn't be an honest statement."

     

     

    What is an honest statement is to say that SOLO, recorded over the course of two-and-a-half days in August 1998 (and Mays' fourth disc under his own name), is also a most audacious melding of improvisation and composition of the sounds and musical& traditions that have shaped — and now have been re-shaped by — the multikeyboardist/composer. It is a work whose depth, subtlety and complexity (particularly in its harmonic language) will engage the most sophisticated ear, yet it offers more than enough melodic content and, especially, dramatic uses of natural and synthetic sounds to reach Everyman (and woman). And from a purely pianistic standpoint, Mays has never sounded more commanding.

     

    "For my entire career," Mays continues, "I've been working with merging acoustic and electric, piano and synthesizer, classical and jazz. So I hit on the idea of recording an album of pieces for the MIDI piano, recording the MIDI data for the computer, improvising these pieces and then orchestrating them after the fact, which I've never heard anyone do before."

     

    Born November 27, 1953 in Wausaukee, Wisconsin, Mays is best known for his nearly 25-years behind a battery of keyboards in the innovative, internationally popular Pat Metheny Group. With the guitarist/composer, Mays has co-written much of the consistently engaging music for the multi-Grammy-winning group's ten albums. His rhapsodic, technically impeccable work has also been heard with his close friend on their exceptional duo album As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (1980), as well as on the soundtrack to the film he Falcon and the Snowman.

     

    1992 was the year in which Mays had last recorded under his own name. In the very fast company of bassist Marc Johnson (a longtime friend and sometime bandmate, ;going back to their student days at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas) and drummer Jack DeJohnette, he brought forth the well-received disc Fictionary. (Its predecessors were 1985's Lyle May and, from 1988, Street Dreams.

     

    As was the case with Fictionary, Metheny provided the impetus for Mays to go into the studio on his own — but this time — for the first time — he was entirely alone, as far as the music making went. Metheny and Steve Rodby, his group's bassist, served as producers, as they had on the 1992 collection, with Mays as co-producer. "This was yet another case of Pat talking me into something I didn't want to do," says Mays with a small laugh. "I didn't want to do a solo album, mostly because of the ghosts of all the great solo jazz piano records. I'd pretty much decided I wasn't just a piano player; that's not where I live. But during the last tour of the Pat Metheny Group, in 1997-98, Pat was giving me a solo slot every night. At the end of the tour, he said, 'You should go into the studio.' He's constantly suggesting things I wouldn't have thought of doing, and in the course of thinking about things he'd suggested, I tried to find my own way to do it."

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