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As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls

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Album Review

This joint solo effort by Metheny and regular pianist and collaborator Lyle Mays is an impressive outing. In the process of stretching out away from the confines of the quartet setting of prior albums, Metheny and Mays presage the sleeker and more ethereal sound of the band's Geffen years on portions of the title track. And while this side-long number has some dreamy moments, it also bogs down in a trite climax or two; one gets the sense of a jazz fusion and prog rock marriage Metheny luckily never fully explored. Minor flaws, really, since the piece holds together in spite of the worrisome lapses of taste. The balance of the album is just fine, with the highlight being the Bill Evans remembrance, "September Fifteenth" (the date of Evan's passing, which occurred while the album was being recorded). Metheny and Mays appropriately opt for a serene and slightly elegiac piano and acoustic guitar duet. The set is balanced out by the fleet Americana of "Ozark" and the streamlined swinger "It's for You." Topped off by integral and tasteful percussion by future band regular Nana Vasconcelos, this 1981 Metheny date is certainly a worthwhile disc for fans to seek out, while not being essential.

Customer Reviews

Without a doubt Metheny’s best

Before life got complicated, before it got out of balance. Pat Metheny captured the essence and soul of the Mid-West in As Falls Wichita, So Fall Wichita Falls. In 20 minutes and 44 seconds you take a trip to heartland so vivid you can smell the harvest. For those fans of the movie “Fandango” you get a double treat September 15th and it’s for You. For those who non-groovers, rent the movie … watch the last 20 minutes and see the best marriage of music and moving pictures in the history on film making. Metheny has very special way telling a story in all his works, in AFWSFWF he is in perfect form blending his string composition and percussions that make the music come alive. I am a big fan of Pat Metheny and if I was to be LOST As Falls Wichita, So Fall Wichita Falls would be the album I’ll take to the Island.

Not essential??!! HUH??!!

Uh, excuse me ... who wrote the opening review for this piece, calling this album 'not essential'?? If you are a Pat Metheny Group or Lyle Mays enthusiast, "As Fall Wichita ..." is VERY essential. Any Metheny fan will tell you, it is a classic. In fact, next to Offramp and Travels, it is my favorite Metheny/Mays collaboration. This album reminded me of Pink Floyd if they could play their instruments as well. The album is surreal, dreamy, evocative (title track), poignant and timeless (the late Bill Evans' dedicated 'September Fifteenth'), the breezy and road-trip perfect 'It's for You', insanely fun and catchy ('Ozark') and solemnly prayerful ('Estupenda Graca', featuring percussionist Nana Vasconcelos' haunting vocals). Twenty minute long songs may not be everybody's cup of tea, but when composed so elegantly and unexpectedly, As Falls .. is a sonic journey many will be happy to take. Nobody is doing that these days, because they can't sustain a piece of music as cohesive, adventurous and complete as this one. Take a listen for yourself, and remember this came out in 1981.

Better than an impressionist painting

A masterpiece. The title song draws you in with simple ideas that combine in a more intricate picture. You need to buy the album and get As Falls Witchita.... While this piece is 20 minutes long, it is a portrait with many elements and it does not linger or grow stale in any section. Highly recommended.


Born: November 27, 1953 in Wausaukee, WI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Lyle Mays' style is difficult to describe, more atmospheric (with plenty of unique colors) than swinging and an invaluable part of the sound of the Pat Metheny Group. Mays played and composed for the North Texas State University Lab Band in the mid-'70s. He met Metheny in 1975, toured with Woody Herman's Orchestra (1975-1976), and then joined Metheny's band, continuing to play with the guitarist's group. Lyle Mays (who is also an excellent acoustic...
Full Bio

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