Friday, May 11, 2007

Metheny & Mays, Denton & Chapel Hill: circles & circles

I had a delightful coffee yesterday with Jim Schaeffer, director of the Long Leaf Opera Festival. I expected we'd talk about his exciting upcoming season in Chapel Hill, as well as our common passion for mid-century modern architecture, but we quickly figured out we had something else important in common: we'd been undergrads at North Texas State University at the same time! He was there on a music scholarship. Not me, but I did hang out on the fringes of the music community.

I told him I'd been thinking a lot lately about another NTSU musician who was there when we were: pianist Lyle Mays, who starred in the prestigious One O'Clock Lab Band and went on to a career with Pat Metheny and on his own. On the Lab Band's 1975 album ("Lab '75"), Mays composed and produced every cut except one, "What Was" by Chick Corea, in which he simply was Chick Corea.

So I knew about the phenomenal Lyle Mays at the time, enough to be sure to buy that album and every Metheny/Mays album I saw, but I'm not sure I ever saw him in concert. It was great to find this video of a concert version of one of my absolute favorite songs in the world: "First Circle." Enjoy.

UPDATE 5/13: More in the N&O on the Long Leaf Opera Festival, especially the upcoming world premiere of "Strange Fruit."

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