Ray Lyon

Figures Of The True

 Those, which are not familiar with Christian Smooth Jazz, I suggest to visit  http://www.smoothchristianjazz.com/. They have a great catalogue of fine Smooth Jazz. This so called counterpart to the Smooth Contemporary Jazz has to spread a message:"There is an underlying message in the lyrics, between the bars, and through the stanzas of Christian music. That message is rooted in the simplicity of the Gospel.. or Good News.. of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We strive to give our very best to the Lord Jesus. We do this because He's given His very best to us.. that is.. the very sacrifice of His own life..."

Ray Lyon comments on his album: "To those who are not followers of Christ, do not be offended by this message but look on it as an opportunity to discover for yourself God's indescribale free gift of eternal life.... and if none of this philosophical and religious talk suits you for the moment, just put the cd in your stereo and enjoy the music. Sometimes, music is just ... music! No explanations are necessary."

Therefore let's approach objectively to his album. My first impression about Figures Of The True was, Ray Lyon is a successor of Pat Metheny. But Ray is not a simple imitator, he understands to define his own style. His album transmits silence, optimism and inner solidity, that have its origin in his Christian belief.

Ray comments: "The music on this project is more aggressive rhythmically than "Farewell To Shadowlands", features acoustic piano on many songs, and has more of a "jazz" emphasis. The performance of several different drummers and bass players contributes to the rhythmic diversity. This project was recorded over a 5 year period at my recording studio, Balsam Pillow."

Valley Of Vision is a melodious tune with a strong rhythm background. A clear sythesizer played theme is accompanied by quick piano scale passages. All tunes of this album with a total running time of 69:40 have an epic length. So you can listen to extensive solos without any compromises.

The Yearning Sky starts with a Church Organ (synth sound) intro to a midtempo bass clarinet theme played by Ed Maina accompanied by Ray's synthesizer. The group paints a fulminant sound picture. Dan Warner  introduces thoughtfulness with his guitar. Culmination of this tune is Ray's broad positioned piano solo.

Uptempo follow-up is Under The Waterspouts. Airy synth sequences combined with jazzy electric piano improvisations and Ed Maina's tenor saxophone lead melody sign out this  jazz fusion highlight.

Archie Pena's Bossa Nova rhythms with a Lyle-like harmonicasounding synth are the special blend of My Sun, My Shield.

In Waiting For April Ray expresses the waiting for a golden season, waiting for peace and for the coming of the kingdom of God. A midtempo played tune with rhythmical breaks. Anew a wonderful piano solo for all connoisseurs of Contemporay Jazz.

Signs - Wonders is a musically revelation. A blend of Latin and Contmporary Jazz, syncopated synth runnings and a fantastic rhythm section are melting to a crescendo of Jazz Fusion. Ray brilliants on his piano with breathtaking runnings.

When you see the golden sunclouds, the billowing thunderheads, be reminded of your destiny ... Heart On A Suncloud guides from a dreamy intro to the next Jazz Fusion summit. Ed Maina hooks with blowing sax solos.

Talkin' about Old Paths Ray reminds on the sure way to God. The music is changing between Jazz Fusion and Latin Jazz with some contemplative moments.

Things To come is a remarkable mixture of New Age, World Music and Jazz Fusion. Spherical sounds embedded in a rhythmical soundscape culminates to Synthesizer peaks in a hypnotical trance.

For those who are complaining the uniformity of modern Smooth Jazz Ray Lyon's Figures If The True is a real alternative.







The musicians:
  • Carlos Jorge - bata drum, bongos, congas, cowbell, shaker, tambourine
  • Jonathan Joseph - drums
  • Ray Lyon - acoustic piano, digital piano, electric piano, synthesizers, synth bass, "faux guitar", vocals
  • Dan Warner - electroc guitar, guitar textures, nylon string guitar
  • Ed Maina - bass clarinett, soprano sax, alto sax, EWI
  • Brad O'Donnell - bass
  • Jeff Qay - drums
  • Jimmy Haslip - fretless bass
  • David Schanzer - congas
  • Stephanie Lyon - french horn
  • Archie Pena - cymbals, bongos, udu drum, talking drum,drums

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