The final recording by Lyle Mays, best known as a founding member of the Pat Metheny Group, will be posthumously released on Aug. 27.
The Grammy-winning pianist and keyboardist died in February of 2020 following a long battle with a recurring illness.
In the months before his passing, Mays completed a final work called Eberhard, a 13-minute, multi-section “mini symphony” dedicated to German bass player Eberhard Weber.
Mays first composed the piece in 2009 for the Zeltsman Marimba Festival and finally recorded it 10 years later with a slate of notable names including guitarist Bill Frisell, drummer Alex Acuña and saxophonist Bob Sheppard.
Weber had a significant influence on Mays and his long-time collaborator Pat Metheny during the mid-1970s and throughout both of their careers. Mays and Weber recorded together on two occasions.
“Though he called it his ‘humble tribute’ to Eberhard, it is still 100 per cent Lyle in every way,” said Steve Rodby, bass player of the Pat Metheny Group and Mays’ best friend, who did double duty on this recording as co-associate producer and acoustic bassist.
Other musicians featured on the project are electric bassist Jimmy Johnson; vocalists Rosana Eckert, Gary Eckert and Aubrey Johnson (Lyle’s niece and co-executive producer); cellist Timothy Loo; percussionist Jimmy Branly; organist Mitchel Forman; and marimbist Wade Culbreath.
While Eberhard is being released posthumously, Mays was involved in its making from beginning to end. He served as composer, arranger, performer (piano, keyboards, and synthesizers), producer and executive producer, and was actively involved in all of the recording and mixing sessions, which took place in Los Angeles during the latter half of 2019.
Since 2011, Mays had been on hiatus from his touring and recording career with the Pat Metheny Group and as a solo artist. Eberhard will be his seventh release as a leader.
Beyond his work with the Pat Metheny Group and as a leader, Mays was also a sideman for albums by numerous jazz, rock and pop artists, including Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones and Earth, Wind & Fire. He composed and recorded music for children’s records, and he helped compose the scores for several films.
Eberhard will be released Aug. 27. Pre-order it here.