Legendary pianist/organist Bobby Lyle has returned to the recorded music scene in serious smooth and contemporary mode with his new single “Living in the Flow.” The tight rhythm section provides the perfect radio-friendly backdrop for Lyle’s signature piano melodies. This tune is only 1of 11 tracks that comprise a complete album. The CD, Ivory Flow: Bobby Lyle and Friends, features some of the genre’s biggest names.
With 16 album releases, Bobby Lyle does a slam-dunk with his newest CD titled Ivory Flow, featuring Lyle on all keyboards and an all-star lineup of guest artists. The single, “Living in the Flow,” entered Billboard at #25 and features bassist Nate Phillips, guitarist Kerry Wilkens, trumpeter Vincent Gross, and drummer Jay Williams. And the list of musicians on the entire album includes heavy hitters in the world of contemporary and traditional jazz, including Stanley Clarke, Rick Braun, Brian Bromberg, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Najee Rashad; Marcus Miller, Everette Harp, Paul Jackson Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, and John Patitucci, and others.
“I am truly excited to get this new album out there,” said Lyle while relaxing at home. Mainly because it’s sort of a reunion album in that I was able to send out files to friends who appeared on my albums in the past, are stars in their own right with their own discographies, but were all completely dedicated to making the songs come to life. So don’t be surprised as you go through it to suddenly hear a Gerald Albright or a Marcus Miller or a Rick Braun, just to name a few. Working at home primarily was something new for me, but I love the relaxed, no-clock pressure environment; and sending out files is the way we have to do it nowadays, because of the pandemic and everyone living in different cities. The trick is to make it sound and feel like we were all in the studio hittin’ together. And I can happily say I think we achieved that.” – Bobby Lyle
Bobby Lyle is known as a serious jazz pianist and has crossed genres spanning his career. He set a precedent as a jazz-fusion wonder with The Genie (1977) to contemporary jazz, r&b, and his blues-inspired The Way I Feel (2013), where he pays tribute to Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery while showing his chops on the Hammond B3 organ. Eight years later and three years in the making, “Living in the Flow” bursts on the scene, letting the genie out of his lamp.
“‘Living in the Flow’ was chosen as the first radio single because of the front and center piano melodies, and the airwaves-friendly groove laid down by bassist Nate Phillips and drummer Jay Williams. Kerry Wilkens gave me superb guitar work on this one. I love to observe the flow of life, whether it’s children on a playground, people bustling through a busy airport, birds and squirrels in the park, or me just silently driving through the countryside. This song seems to reflect all of that. The inspiration for this Ivory Flow Project was two-fold. First, it had been at least six years since I had put out any new product. And secondly, my writing (which had never stopped) had created quite a backlog of songs. Add to this the constant inquiries from my fans about when was something new coming and you can see the boiling point that was finally reached. When I told myself “it’s time for you to get busy in that studio. I rolled up my sleeves and never looked back. More than two years later, here is Ivory Flow ready for the marketplace.” – Bobby Lyle Interview, Schmoozejazz.com
TRACK LIST FOR IVORY FLOW—BOBBY LYLE & FRIENDS
1.) “Living In The Flow” Featuring Kerry Wilkens Guitar, Vincent Gross Trumpet, Nate Phillips Bass, and Jay Williams drums (Listen)
2.) Feel the Heat Featuring Najee Rashad Flute, Stanley Clarke Bass, Sonny Emory Drums, and Lenny Castro Percussion
3.) “In A Sentimental Mood” (by Duke Ellington) Featuring Tatiana Mayfield Vocals, Rick Braun Trumpet, and Brian Bromberg Bass
4.) “Hello Maceo” Featuring Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum Saxes, Najee Rashad Flute, Marcus Miller Bass, Andre Hayward Trombone
5.) “Where Are You” Featuring Everette Harp saxophone and Tatiana Mayfield Vocals
6.) “What Kind of World” Featuring Kyle Turner & Ken Mondshine Saxes, Jon Calderon Guitar, Tatiana Mayfield & Andre Venson Vocals.
7.) “Spirit Song” Featuring Kirk Whalum Sax, Andre Hayward Trombone, Paul Jackson, Jr. Guitar
8.) “Tommy’s Song” Featuring Najee Rashad Soprano Sax, and Billy Kilson Drums
9.) “Nujazzy” Featuring John Calderon Guitar, Nathan East Bass, and Vinnie Colaiuta Drums 10.) “Cleo’s Waltz” Featuring Marion Meadows Soprano Sax, John Patitucci Bass, and Mark Simmons Drums
11.) “Indigo Nights” Bobby Lyle all Keyboards.
“Being shut in by the pandemic has given artists something we previously never seemed to have enough of: TIME! People have chosen to use it in different ways, but it has been an opportunity for me to go deeper into my artistry: Playing, composing, and teaching. I have reconnected with some of my classical books and that has opened up new musical avenues. But most importantly, I was able to focus on finishing Ivory Flow. I can’t call it a comeback album because I never stopped performing and being active in music. Let’s say I’m re-emerging as a recording entity with this project. It contains 11 tracks, 10 of them originals, plus Duke Ellington’s “In A Sentimental Mood” sung beautifully by Tatiana Mayfield. It is also a reunion project of sorts in that I sent out tracks to guys who have participated on my previous recordings. Most are solo artists in their own right with their own discographies. They all came through in spectacular fashion.” – Bobby Lyle, Schmoozejazz.com
Bobby Lyle has had many achievements, such as getting to #1 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart with The Journey in 1991. The Atlantic release contained the song “Viva Mandela,” which celebrated Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Lyle recounts his performance of “Viva Mandela” with Nelson Mandela in the audience beaming as he watched him perform the song. Additional highlights include Lyle’s first record deal with Capitol Jazz, touring, recording sessions, and most of all The Genie, his first project under his own name and the album that put him on the map.
When Capitol Records disbanded its entire jazz division, Lyle began musical directing for Phyliss Hyman, Bette Midler, Al Jarreau, and Anita Baker. All were stylistically different, creating a training ground for becoming a great accompanist, regardless of who the artist is. Al Jarreau took him on his first tour in Europe and the culmination of that tour is documented on the DVD Al Jarreau-Live In London. Bobby Lyle also toured with Bette Midler throughout America. That experience earned him an Emmy.
“One of the most versatile keyboardists on the music scene, Lyle is an established composer, bandleader, producer/arranger, musical director, music publisher, jazz educator, recording artist, and world class live performer. Audiences everywhere continue to be mesmerized by Lyle’s melodic compositions and dazzling piano technique.” — Allaboutjazz.com
ABOUT BOBBY LYLE:
Bobby Lyle was inducted in the Black Music Awards (BMA) Hall of Fame in Houston, Texas, on November 8, 2020. He has toured with George Benson then became musical director for singers Phyllis Hyman, Bette Midler (with whom he received an Emmy nomination for musical direction after her HBO special Diva Las Vegas in 1999), Al Jarreau, and Anita Baker. After a live audition for Atlantic Records, he signed a deal, recording six albums in nine years then followed three albums on independent labels: Joyful and Straight and Smooth for Three Keys; and Hands On for the Heads Up label. In 2013, Lyle created the label New Warrior Music to go with his Genie Productions company and he produced and released a tribute to his Hammond B-3 idol Jimmy Smith called The Way I Feel. He also maintained his career as a jazz piano instructor and practitioner of master classes in colleges and High schools. A return to the contemporary/smooth genre he helped to pioneer the single “Living In The Flow,” which is blowing up the airwaves. Best known for his epic album, The Genie, Lyle continues to perform regularly, playing piano and organ with his band, as a featured artist, and as a solo pianist. After 15 album releases, he has done it again from the New Warrior Music label with the release with Ivory Flow!