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Ray Lyon: Beginning to See

Multi-instrumentalist Ray Lyon, who has performed with saxophonist Ed Calle and flutist Nestor Torres, calls his music “Christian jazz,” but you don’t have to believe to benefit from his uplifting songs. I could be wrong, but Lyon may be the first Christian jazz artist to take his professed and very obvious influence of Pat Metheny and present it in such a loving way. “Keep Going” is perhaps the best recent Metheny song that Metheny never recorded, with Lyon’s soaring-ever-higher keys solo subbing for Metheny’s guitar synth, sort of a morphed combo of Lyle Mays’ harmonica-like keyboard sound and Metheny’s horn-like synth sound.

The ode to Metheny continues on “Even Now a Glimpse,” an inward-looking, peaceful journey consisting of simply a piano and synth bass; “Is It You or the World?,” another piece exploring dramatic concepts with some of Lyon’s impressive guitar chops; and with “On the Smooth of the Hill,” whose lyrics are adapted from a 1976 poem by Anglican devotional author Evelyn Underhill. What starts as a fairly standard vocal track with Rick Krive shifts momentum as the music cascades and Krive’s voice begins to soar with the piano melody and crashing cymbals.

Originally Published