David Kikoski Jazz Piano Man Part One (E41)
“So look at that piano man,” I said to my buddy Mitch Nochlin at Mezzrow Jazz Club on a Monday night this past summer. “Look at the joy on his face. See the appreciation for the band leader, Victor Lewis? That is a man made for jazz.”
To me it was as clear as day. And I immediately wanted to get to know this musician based on what I heard. Incredible timing, sublime sounds, a jazz virtuoso at the keyboard.
100 Records, Walking with Jazz Giants, Many Sides to this Dave Kikoski
After a quick introduction after the show Dave and I struck up an email exchange with the idea of assembling the show that you are about to hear (see link below). Dave built a playlist and helped me get the right tracks lined up for our interview. About a month later we finally had the chance to sit down and talk. Dave was so generous with his time and after more than two hours we had the makings of not one, but three radio shows about jazz.
Fate stepped in along the way as Dave mentioned his admiration for the recently passed keyboardist, Lyle Mays. I too have enjoyed this artist’s work over the years. Lo and behold (fun to use that phrase!) Eberhard, Mr. Mays’ final recording came out soon after our conversation, in time for me to include this poignant piece on my show with Dave.
Enter Lyle Mays and his final work, Eberhard
LYLE MAYS (born Lyle David Mays on 27 November 1953 in McAllister, Wisconsin; died 10 February 2020) was an American jazz pianist and composer best known as the co-creator of the Pat Metheny Group. Metheny and Mays composed and arranged nearly all of the group’s music, for which Mays won eleven Grammy Awards.
Lyle attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for two years before transferring to the University of North Texas on scholarship. At UNT, Lyle composed and arranged the music for The One O’Clock Lab Band’s Lab 75, the first ever album by a collegiate ensemble to be nominated for a Grammy.
After leaving UNT, Mays toured with Woody Herman’s group for approximately eight months.
In 1974, he met Pat Metheny with whom he later founded the Pat Metheny Group. Mays won eleven Grammys with the Pat Metheny Group and was nominated for four others for his own work.
In the Pat Metheny Group, Mays provided arrangements, orchestration and the harmonic and metric backbone of the group’s musical signature. He occasionally performed on electric guitar as well. On the songs “Forward March” and “Yolanda, You Learn” from the Pat Metheny Group album First Circle (1984), and in the concert tour for that album, he played trumpet.
His albums as a leader reflect a large variety of musical interests: Lyle Mays and Street Dreams build on the content of the Pat Metheny Group, while Fictionary is a straight-ahead jazz trio session featuring fellow North Texan Marc Johnson on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Solo: Improvisations for Expanded Piano is focused on solo piano improvisations.
He has also composed and recorded music for children’s records, such as Tale of Peter Rabbit, with text read by Meryl Streep.
In August 2021, Eberhard, Lyle’s final recording was released to great critical praise.
Tracks included in order of appearance.
|Song||Artist / Album||Year|
|Polka Italienne||Baynov Piano Ensemble Sergei Rachmaninov / Piano Ensemble Recital for Six Hands||2004|
|For Children Vol. 1||Bela Bartok Lars Vogt / Larcher, Schumann & Bartók||2016|
|Crescent||John Coltrane Quartet / Crescent||1964|
|Leap Frog – Take 11||Dizzie Gillespie, Charlie Parker / Bird and Dis (Expanded Edition)||1952|
|Sunshine of Your Love||Cream / Disraeli Gears (Deluxe Edition)||2004|
|Peaches En Regalia||Frank Zappa / Hot Rats||1969|
|Shadow||Billy Hart, David Kikoski / Ocean of Time||1996|
|Eberhard||Lyle Mays / Eberhard||2021|
|Mr. JJ||David Kikoski, Jeff “Tain” Watts / Consequences||2012|
A PLAYLIST NOTE
As far as Dave’s playlist goes… well – we hardly got out of first gear on this show. We found room for a few tracks, but I feel we did a lot of important work on getting to understand Dave’s background (with a musical accompaniment). And we were “hijacked” by Lyle Mays’ showstopper Eberhard. And to me that’s all just good news for our next shows. We have so much more music to explore with our guest.