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LYLE MAYS, 1953-2020

Lyle Mays, the longtime pianist in the Pat Metheny Group, died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 66.

His family reported his death on Facebook came “after a long battle with a recurring illness.”

Mays’ sensitive piano playing helped define the Metheny Group sound as they became one of the most popular contemporary jazz groups from  the late 1970s into the early 2000s. He also handled the orchestrations and arrangements for the group.

With Metheny, Mays won 11 Grammy Awards, the last being for 2005’s The Way Up.

A native of Wausaukee, Wisc., Mays met Metheny in 1975 and started recording with him in 1977. The first Pat Metheny Group album was released in 1978; they would release 11 studio albums and two live records.

Metheny wrote on Facebook: “Lyle was one of the greatest musicians I have ever known. Across more than 30 years, every moment we shared in music was special. From the first notes we played together, we had an immediate bond. His broad intelligence and musical wisdom informed every aspect of who he was in every way. I will miss him with all my heart.”

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