This material doesn't claim to be a complete biography of Jimmy Lyons. It will just be some quotes from fellow musicians and critics.

Jimmy Lyons was born December 1, 1933, Jersey City, NJ and died May 19, 1986 in New York.

A detailed history about Jimmy Lyons's childhood and his musical approach is covered in the Bob Rusch interview in Cadence Magazine, October 1978.

More from Jimmy´s life is given in the liner book to "Jimmy Lyons - The Box Set" on Ayler Records from 2003 by Ben Young  and Ed Hazell.

In the same book there are also notes from Raphé Malik, Hayes Burnett, Sydney Smart, Henry Maxwell Letcher, Karen Borca, William Parker and Paul Murphy.

Brief information of Jimmy Lyons's history was given by WKCR-FM, NYC in a radio broadcast on the 27th of May, 1996. The program was dedicated to a Jimmy Lyons Memorial Day and his music was played.

Jimmy Lyons met Cecil Taylor in 1961 when he was playing with his own band opposite Cecil Taylor in New York and this Sessionography also starts, 1961, and ends, 1985, with recordings together with Cecil Taylor.

Many of the innovators in jazz have been treated in both negative and positive words and the same goes for Jimmy Lyons.

As an example of the former, here is Miles Davis in "Downbeat" 1964 when listening to the title "Lena" from Cecil Taylor's album "Invitations", recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1962, session No. 62-1123:

"Take it off! That's some sad ____, man. In the first place, I hear some Charlie Parker cliché's ... They don't even fit. Is that what the critics are digging? If there ain't nothing to listen to, they might as well admit it. Just to take something like that and say it's great, because there ain't nothing to listen to, that's like going out and getting a prostitute." " ...... And when the alto player sits up there and plays without no tone ... That's the reason I don't buy any records."

Concerts with the same Trio but performed one month earlier at the Golden Circle in Stockholm, Sweden, was reviewed by Lars Werner in "Orkesterjournalen" (SE), November 1962. (Session No. 62-1000B and 62-1014):

" ....... If one was listening carefully to Jimmy Lyons' alto saxophone playing (which is the most basic and most insight from Parker I've ever have heard, the substance in the tone is there and the beauty in the music as well), one suddenly discover that the Parker, one thought was a closed period, has enough music strength left to stimulate to continuing conquest. Taylor, Lyons and Murray have really started to utilise the many rhythmical intimations about new horizons which are there at Parker and at the forties- Roach. It requires such a deep musical insight to be able to develop Parker's work, that I have believed that it was impossible, but now I have experienced it.

And you, who listened at The Golden Circle, remember that you have experienced something equal to the Armstrong Hot Five or just the Parker Quintet.

My God, I have rarely had so much fun when I've been listening to music as when I heard the Cecil Taylor Group. Did you hear the interaction between Taylor and Lyons, Taylor was Lyons' left hand speaking piano ... "

The photographer, Brian McMillen, was present at a concert with Cecil Taylor Unit at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in 1978:

"As far as reminiscence about the Cecil Taylor concert, that was 22 years ago! But, I was struck by the members of the band's communications about cues, etc. It seemed that just a glance, or maybe osmosis, was needed from Cecil, for the other players to come in and play their parts after a long and seemingly unpredictable solo.

I respect this music so much, if only for its mystery. I don't pretend to "understand" it. But after hearing a performance by these musicians, I feel like I've just partaken of a nourishing 5-course meal – satiated!"

Jimmy Lyons music is maybe best described by Stanley Crouch who in the liner notes of the album "We Sneezawee", Black Saint, 120067-2 (session No. 83-0926-27) summarises my own feelings:

"At this point in his career, Jimmy Lyons is clearly a master of what he does and his decisions are backed up with a technique equalled by few associated with the avant garde.

Listen to the confidence he has in every register of his instrument; listen to the size of his sound; note the ease with which he gives definition to each tone, darkening this one, wising that one.

In fact, he is the veteran songbird of so-called new jazz and one of the few virtuosi that body of players can claim.

The command of articulation is often startling and the large reservoir of heart that centres his expression gives the resonance of purity to his ideas.

But Lyons has long been quite separate from many gathered under the misnomer avant garde because his work is the result of choice, not last resort. When he picks up the saxophone, his authority is so obvious that the listener quickly realises he is listening to a blue ribbon instrumentalist.

This is far from a simple accomplishment in a day when any kind of ineptitude is excused with facile theories about "concept", no more than a seven-letter veil for men who are usually no more than folk – as in unsophisticated – musicians at best. Lyons is far above that and his work glistens with midnight oil. It is easy to hear the many, many years spent developing the muscles of the throat, the mouth, the lungs, and the fingers. The ease which he spins out such difficult passages bespeaks the slow and laborious task of learning where each note is and how many different ways it can be fingered for a specific texture. Beyond that, there is the suppleness of the directions he takes and the emotional sweep from the harsh and isolated to the buoyant a joyous. Of course, if one has yet to master his instrument in the terms of his idiom's language, he is in deep trouble when it comes to expressing himself. Which is way I have pointed so far at the excellent technique of Jimmy Lyons: it is the result of much hard work that has panned out for statements than have more to say than how he practised. He has authority.

What gives Lyons his personal authority is the richness of his melodic imagination, something he brings with powerful confidence to all playing situations. He now and then uses noise elements for heated punctuation, but his greatest feeling is for the lovely linking of songs-in-progress.

It was this gift that made one of the three most important alto saxophonists in the sixties.

His work in the Cecil Taylor Unit stood up next to that Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, revealing, as did theirs, the heavy conceptual shadow of Charlie Parker. In fact, it is quite interesting that most who hated

the work of those men because it used other material than bebop, never noticed how much those alto saxophonists had obviously studied flight patterns of the Kansas City Bird.

But Lyons is primarily a New York saxophonist and his sound is full of the subway, the skyscrapers, the density of people covering the sidewalks, the bleachers, and the grass of the parks. His lines have swiftness and the explosion of stickball or the fast breaks on the asphalt courts. Or he can coax full moon

whole notes from the horn that are resonant with delicate desire. Then there is the fury which seems less like anger than the force of blood swirling through the body. Inside the sound there is also a shyness and the humble elegance of an actual gentleman, not by rote but by the reined power of sympathetic personality.

It usually takes a superior man to make a superior musician. Jimmy Lyons is both."

Stanley Crouch also kindly contributes with his: "One Fast Blues For Jimmy":

"Some time, around twenty years ago, I was booking the Tin Palace, a club on Second Street and the Bowery. I tried to present the best of the serious swingers like George Coleman, Clifford Jordan, Philly Joe Jones, and Gary Bartz--as well as the best of those working outside of the basic conventions, musicians like Dewey Redman, Henry Threadgill, Arthur Blythe, and Jimmy Lyons.

I was especially fond of those four musicians, since each of them brought something particular to the bandstand, as player, composer, and leader.

For a while, the Tin Palace was THE hot club on the Eastside, with the club filling up late at night as other rooms closed and those still seeking to hear some jazz came rushing in.

When Jimmy Lyons was in there with his Quartet, featuring bassoonist Karen Borca, even those who had contempt for anything outside of bebop were chastened by his abilities.

First, he had an enormous sound and used no microphone. The sound was not only fat; it was thick and had plenty of weight to it.

Freed from the insistence of Cecil Taylor's piano, Lyons played quite differently that listeners were accustomed to hearing. He was able to take his time and there was the space to mash his sound on the air. He could give in to his lyricism, which was shining while full of the tart recognition that underlay the tragic observations of Charlie Parker, from whom he, like Ornette Coleman, surely came. In Lyons, one could hear the line from Parker reworked to fit all of the options Cecil Taylor had introduced him to, not

only in terms of harmony but in terms of phrasing and even more disjunctive melodic phases than those Parker played.

Bassist Ted Wald, who had played with Parker in the great Bird's last days, was telling people to go to the Palace and hear Lyons and they came, those musicians, along with listeners who were not accustomed to hearing Lyons out there on his own.

I don't recall seeing anyone leave when he was playing nor did I notice any sneers. Not only because of what Lyons was playing but because Borca was flying over the bassoon, too.

Lyons and I talked often on the phone and he was one of those deep New Yorkers who had heard plenty of music, loved to watch basketball games, and could handle him some gin, if I'm recalling correctly. Lyons was from the Bronx. He had plenty of stories about the lore of the music, the people he had seen and been around growing up, such as Elmo Hope, who lived next door and would come home with Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, where they would drink, argue, and play the piano, one after another challenging the other two.

He was a good man and a witty guy with broad intelligence. There was plenty of humility there and there was such abundant soul that, when he once guessed with David Murray's Octet at the Public Theater, many were shocked by how down home he got when playing a duet with Olu Dara on the blues.

There was so much more to his ability than was heard in the Cecil Taylor's band, which was wonderful for what it was, of course. But those who never heard Jimmy Lyons work outside of that context and call upon the vast knowledge and feeling that he had for jazz truly missed something.

But, well, it was hear, it was heard, and those of us who were there will remember it and we, at

least in terms of the way it changed our own emotional makeup, will pass it on."

Lars- Olof Gustavsson, Silkheart Records:

"Jimmy Lyons is one of my absolute favourites. I will never forget when I heard Cecil Taylor's group at St. Patrick's Cathedral, 5th Avenue in New York on New Years Eve 1972. The concert began at 11 p.m. and was supposed to continue to 1 am the next day. By the way, I have some photographs also.

The group started and it was a huge sound between the stone walls in the church. Especially the drums gave very strong echoes but also the piano was very strong. So, it was a very arduous concert. Andrew Cyrille was on drums and I think it was Sirone on bass. Just before 12 o'clock, a fuse was broken and it became completely dark in the whole church.

The fantastic thing was that, the musicians continue to play as nothing had happened. Very strong. It took about 10 minutes before someone found some candles which then were the only light for about 10 to 20 minutes. It was a fantastic scene. Jimmy Lyons playing was unbelievable! The melodic flow and his fantastic clear tone. He very seldom played in the low register when he played with Cecil".

André Martinez: I do remember us playing in Messina, Cagliari, Sardinia with Jimmy in 1983. I know for sure because I was carrying a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black for a friend from Brooklyn to give to his brother in Sicily and Jimmy persuaded me to give it to him, and that we would replace it before we reached Messina.

Jimmy is one the greatest saxophonist of all time. I remember one day on tour in Poland he told that me that the happiest time he ever had in the last 25 years was with this Unit. I have never forgotten that.

About the tour in Europe October 1984: I was the only drummer. Rashid and Brenda only played the 3 concerts of the tour series due to the fact that an accident occurred after a concert in Milan where Brenda was stroked in the head by falling stage lights which could have been fatal had not the piano an my percussion table prevented it from it hitting the floor where she laid.

In an interview Andrew Cyrille, drummer, says:

"Jimmy was consistent. I never saw a change in terms his dedication or his concept. Jimmy was the extension on alto saxophone of Cecil's piano playing. I mean, as fast as Cecil would play some of those licks on the piano, Jimmy would execute that stuff on the saxophone, you see, and with all those rhythms, etceteras".

"'Cause Cecil would actually give him lines to play. And then of course he would play those lines and then extrapolate on those lines in relationship to what else was going on as far as the concept was concerned, like a prescription".

"We had prescriptions, as odd as that may sound. In other words, we had written music. That's what I call by prescription".

( ã Cadence Jazz Magazine www.cadencebuilding, Vol. 21 No.1, January 1995)

Andrew Cyrille again:

"Jimmy was frustrated. Jimmy was a very sensitive person and he felt that he did not get what he deserved.

He felt that there were so many other people who were not as well versed as he, and didn't put their time and energy in, that were getting things, that people were just overlooking him".

"He wanted to develop his group. There were a host of reasons for staying in the Unit (Cecil Taylor's), but I think the main one was economic. He needed the money. Cecil would call him for a gig; he'd want to make the gig. But a lot of times Cecil wouldn't work and, you know, you have a mortgage to pay, you got rent to pay. So how you gonna do that?

And Jimmy was not enterprising enough or – yeah, I guess so, you gotta kind of have the aggressiveness or at least-"

"He was a gentle fellow, yeah, refined.

And you go out and gotta hang out in some of those clubs and sometimes people say no, but you gotta go back or you gotta go someplace else or you gotta think of somethin' to do that'll keep your shit out there. And he wasn't working with other people. A lot of times didn't call him for jobs, he was with Cecil".

"Jimmy, you know, was just frustrated. And that's what brought the tears. I was with him the night he died. And that was just awful".

"His mother and Karen were with him. You know, of course, I had to go and a few hours after I left the hospital, it was morning, I got the call from Karen that said he's gone. I remember I left the hospital and I went down to Sweet Basil's, so I'm sitting up in the front, over on the side and I'm feelin' terrible and all of a sudden who comes through the door but Cecil. I said "Cecil!" "Who's that?". "It was me". And he comes over and I said. "Man, Jimmy is gone." We sat there talking and then I went home".

(ã Cadence Jazz Magazine www.cadencebuilding, Vol. 21 No.2, February 1995)

Cecil Taylor, pianist, from an interview:

"Oh, Jimmy Lyons is the right arm of Cecil Taylor's music. He's the instructor".

(ã Cadence Jazz Magazine www.cadencebuilding, Vol. 4, No. 1, April 1978)

Joel Futtermann, pianist, says:

"Jimmy was a beautiful and warm person with a fantastic ear. I met him first time at Newport, Virginia in 1979.

I never forget when he came down to my place in Norfolk, Virginia. He was here two times and played in my home with me and Robert Adkins, and we also played in a church and it was a very hot day. I gave him some sheet music and he started to take it in. Jimmy took his shirt off and played for 7 straight hours. Just a break for a beer. He was a beautiful man"

(On telephone, 13 July, 2000)

In 1982, Jimmy came down because we had a concert in Newport News, Virginia.

One day we visited this occult book store. Some cat who owned the store was trying to sell us some books by following us and just rapping about these certain books. In that moment, Jimmy began sneezing. Probably 8 or 9 sneezes in a row.

I asked Jimmy if he was ok and his reply was.

"Joel, I think I'm allergic to this dude. Let's get of this scene."

Also, we did a beautiful spontaneous rendition of When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Round Midnight. Jimmy played my daughter's flute and I played on an upright piano at the time in the garage.

It wasn't corded recorded. But the music was very hip!! (E-mail January 29, 2006)

Jules Epstein:

"In the mid-seventies, here in Philadelphia, there was a well-regarded jazz club, The Foxhole (a reincarnation of Geno's Empty Foxhole), that operated in the basement of St. Mary's Church. The club was run by a non-profit collective, of which I was a member.

We brought Cecil Taylor in to perform, and the concert was in the church itself. My memory (I ran the stage, did the miking/sound) was of kneeling in awe at the side of Taylor and watching his hands slash away at the piano. We had rented a grand for the occasion (a major budget problem for our truly non-profit club). On the first night, all of a sudden a black shape went whizzing away; at the break we found it to be one of the piano's black keys, sheered away by the simple strength of Taylor's

strikes. We somehow glued it back on and the music continued".

Bobby Zankel: The value and significance of things is best understood in their relationship to their environment.

When I first heard Jimmy, the great Sam Rivers was the other voice in Cecil Taylor's band. I heard the group a few amazing evenings at Slug's in NYC.

Later I got to hear them rehearse and perform a number of times in Madison, Wisconsin (Cecil was teaching and had a big band that I was part of).

The magic of Jimmy's sound was overwhelming. He had an incredible projection and penetration without ever seeming loud-the core was fat and round and surrounded by a rainbow of overtones (when we practiced together it did not sound like the same instrument).

His concentration was so intense that his control was the same at "highest tempos".

The depth of his mastery of the history of the saxophone is epitomized in his relationship with Charlie Parker. Jimmy thoroughly internalised bird's sound, attack/articulations, phraseology and then put that knowledge to serve his own aesthetic/emotional needs.

I had the great fortune to work under Jimmy in Cecil Taylor's big band for 2 years in Ohio and I studied with Jimmy at his home in the Bronx he was modest kind and generous. I never forget playing a solo in front of Cecil's big band at Carnegie Hall in 1974 and coming back to my music stand in seeing Jimmy smile at me and give me a hug , I was a kid , and he was a Master and he gave me a dream.

Gunnar Moreite, drummer, remembers:

"The Cecil Taylor Trio with Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray stayed at Hotel Standard in Oslo for about a week in October 1962 and played at the "Metropole Jazz Club".

The Trio created more or less a scandal with its music and the jazz "experts" became divided in two camps – pro or against.

In those days, jazz was also music for dancing and the club was regularly visited by the "ladies" who hooked their customers on the dancing floor. But, as it was impossible to dance to the Trio's music, the ladies business was destroyed. The pimps threatened to through the Trio out on the street which forced the management to hire a dance band to play in intermissions.

This was a fantastic week and I will never forget it".

Jon Christensen, drummer

".... so popped Cecil Taylor up at Metropol with Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray and that was an eye opener. I was there with some other chocked Norwegians. We had never heard anything close to this. It was quite "far out" for us. To see Sunny Murray playing contributed to shape my way of thinking. Snare drum, one cymbal and bas drum – what he got out from these! And he played all the time. Normally it was drums and bas .... ding-ding-dingading .... And possibly a drum solo if you where a Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich. But. Here he played drum solo all the time. What was this? No standards, no four beats or eight beats. That was strong, for sure!"

From "JazzNytt" (NO), No. 01.2010.

Marc Edwards, drummer:

Listening to the "Jimmy Lyons – The Box Set", the music is stunning in its beauty, sparkling like a diamond under a bright light.

Jimmy was more than a good alto saxophonist. He's what I call a musician's musician or a virtuoso if you will. Virtuosos are not only masters, experts at what they do; they talk directly to God through their instruments or whatever their respective activities happens to be (in any career field).

I was very fortunate that I had the opportunity to work Jimmy while I was in Cecil Taylor's band also known as the Cecil Taylor Unit. Some musicians feel that Jimmy didn't get his due, meaning his fifteen minutes of fame, because he remained with Cecil all those years. Yes, that's one point of view. I feel that had Jimmy Lyons done more gigs under his name, the recognition would have come.

After I left the CT Unit, I went to see Cecil and company at the Village Gate around December 1976. They played there for two nights. I think I was there on a Friday night. Jimmy kept asking me questions in between sets. It wasn't until after I got home that I realized he was interested in using me in his band. At the time, I was going through changes. Playing this music can stir up one's personal stuff on the inside. This may be a reason why some artists take time off from the music and return at a later date. Had I not been going through this, I would have loved working with Jimmy. I would have said, "Yes Jimmy, I'm interested."

I first met Jimmy when he came to a rehearsal for Cecil's large ensemble.

At first, we had less than ten people attending the rehearsals. When the rehearsal ended, Jimmy sat down on the couch. He smiled in our direction, but that meant, he wanted us to play. He needed to see what we could do.

Cecil probably told him about us and I'm quite sure Jimmy had heard the word of mouth on the grapevine regarding David S. Ware and I. We started doing our thing, the high energy approach.

During this time period, that approach was popular in the seventies. Cecil had left as he had a commitment elsewhere. We did some nice peaks and then we settled down to the coda (final section of a musical composition) of this spontaneous improvised piece and brought it to a close. I went over to Jimmy and he started talking to me. I found that Jimmy was very down to earth. He liked what David and I were playing. He could tell that we were above average musicians. Most musicians talk a good game but when you hear them play, often times; it's the exact opposite, all talk and no music.

A record producer once told me, "Marc, sometimes there's more philosophy than there is music." I concur with that. I will say that for some musicians, most of the time, there is nothing but talk (philosophy) and the artist can't play. If they can't play then, one can expect little music from such an individual. No music will emerge from an empty can. Cats love to talk but few can back up their talking with their playing. The talking and playing are often times, light years apart. I've met lots of musicians and a very small percentage was exceptionally talented.

Jimmy was light years ahead of most horn players as he had lived through the Bebop era and could play that music. Lots of free cats are primarily limited to playing free. I haven't mastered all aspects of inside playing however, when I play time, you'd never know it was a free drummer playing. Keeping time is the primary function of a drummer. As the music evolved, drummers began to deviate from this role.

Jimmy and I hit it off very well. I told David that he should talk to Jimmy. David did that the next day. Jimmy returned to the rehearsal and he lead the band until Cecil arrived. We may have had a few more people in the ensemble that day. Word was slowly spreading that Cecil had a large group and he needed more musicians to play his music. David and I had gotten the word directly from Cecil. We were hanging out with him at Carnegie Hall seeing the Gil Evans big band that night. We saw Marvin Hannibal Peterson on trumpet. I thought he was going to be very big in Jazz but it didn't happen. David maintained his contact with Cecil. We didn't know it but we were already on our way to making a name for ourselves.

As word got around, the band grew to a sizable number. Shortly before we were about to do the show at Carnegie Hall, there was a large influx of musicians. Most could read so it wasn't a problem. Jimmy would often lead these sessions if Cecil wasn't around. He would tell the horn players how to play the lines properly if the lines didn't sound right. Jimmy even told the drummers very early on during these rehearsals, not to use sticks all the time. The music had changed and Rashied Bakr and I had not made an adjustment when the melodic lines had gone noticeably to softer dynamics.

The band had gone from loud to soft. We were playing, using a more upbeat approach. That's when Jimmy stopped the ensemble and told us, "Drummers! Change up, ........ use brushes!"

I began using brushes a lot more after Jimmy offered this timely tip. Rashied Bakr was the second drummer in the band during the rehearsals. He was just starting out on the drums.

I recall Emmett Chapman, the inventor of the instrument he called, "The Stick." Chapman did visit one of the early rehearsals, but did not join the ensemble. He had an amazing sound on that instrument. He really stood out from other instrumentalists during the seventies era. What I liked about Jimmy was that he was patient with the musicians. Most caught on to the materials fairly quickly and did whatever was asked of them. As the date for the show got closer, Jimmy and Cecil began to focus on nuances of the lines. The band had gotten the music down pat.

When we actually did the show at Carnegie Hall, nearly the entire audience got up en mass and left the room. This happened as soon as the ensemble started playing. Only a few die hard Cecil Taylor fans were left in the vast open space of Carnegie Hall. Gene Ashton was there in the balcony. He yelled something to David just before he took his solo. My mom heard Gene and she told me what he had said in the morning.

Jimmy took a solo during this performance. Cecil didn't really take a solo. He was playing, but he stopped and crossed his leg while he listened closely to David S. Ware while he was soloing. I was surprised but kept playing as did a number of the musicians. Everyone wanted to play with Ware. When Sonny Murray came in the ensemble he wanted a little more order in the percussion section.

We had agreed that each of us, the four drummers would play behind the various soloists. It's no big surprise I chose David S. Ware.

Before we went on stage, Cecil told David to take his time and build his solo. David had the flu that night. I don't know how he got through his solo. He played for a few short minutes. Had he been healthy, he would have played for a longer duration.

I can't recall how long Jimmy played but he was in fine form as he is on this box set. Most of these shows were done before I joined the Cecil Taylor Unit.

I was working with Jimmy from the fall of 1973 until we did the show at Carnegie Hall in March of 1974.

I was somewhat idle after that period (March 1974 - June 1976) until I got a call from Cecil. He wanted me to join the band. I did join and was very pleased to be working with him and Jimmy. David S. Ware and Malik were already in the band. They were very pleased to see me come on board.

Andrew Cyrille had left Cecil to start a solo career. I was in the right place at the right time.

Jimmy was warm and friendly as ever. He and Raphé Malik had bonded while Ware and I kept each other company and out of trouble, meaning women. We were so focused on the music that we didn't bother having girlfriends during this period. We considered ourselves to be serious musicians, the likes of which this world had never seen. I laugh about that now. I'll talk more about Jimmy Lyons and the impact he has had on the scene. Most horn players don't study Jimmy. They really should. Jimmy was very proficient on the alto sax. Every musician should study anyone who has mastered their instrument(s).

I'm listening to the first CD in The Box (aylCD 036). I didn't know Raphé Malik had worked with Jimmy Lyons. I knew he had met Jimmy, Cecil, and Andrew while he was in college. Malik loved the music and he would often check out cats. That's how he met David S. Ware, Gene Ashton and yours truly. I remember how excited he was when he saw us playing. We were playing and all of a sudden we saw Raphé in the room, leaning against the wall, nodding his head, digging the music. He had heard us playing as he was walking down the street. He followed the sounds until he located us on the third floor. Raphé reminded me that it was he that used to attend the Apogee rehearsals at the building across the street from the New England Conservatory. I had forgotten about him because I was so focused on the music of Apogee. I didn't focus so much on the people that would sometimes stop by to check us out. Such visits were almost rare. It was the three of us playing the music. I like what I'm hearing on this CD. Raphé is very much in sync with Jimmy. This CD, aylCD-036, is a revelation.

As I listen to the audience applause, I'm reminded that before cable TV, home videos and video games caught on in America, people would go out frequently to hear live music. We don't see as large audiences today as we have in the past. Only the Jazz stars are pulling in the larger audiences. Most people are staying home after a hard day at work, preferring to play video games or watching their favourite satellite/cable TV programs.

I must say I'm impressed with the music on all of the CDs in this Box Set.

Kudos to all of the musicians. Special kudos to drummer, Sydney Smart. His drumming is razor sharp throughout. He is another musician I missed during this time period. Karen Borca is very vibrant on these recordings. I wish she were more active on the current scene. I did not hear of bassist, Hayes Burnett until this recording. I would have told Ware about his playing had I seen him perform. I was in New York City and I did sometimes attend shows at the Studio Rivbea. I was mostly spending time with Apogee.

We continued our rehearsals during the week three to four nights out of each week. We would often rehearse on Saturday afternoons. Since I had a day job, I couldn't attend rehearsals every day. The band had gotten very tight so Ware and Ashton felt we didn't need to hit it that often. I was glad, I would have had problems trying to work a day job and play at night. That would be burning the candle at both ends; not an easy thing to do.

Drummer, Paul Murphy also sounds good during his tenure with Jimmy. He adds the right amount of spice to the music without playing loudly nor overpowering the band.

Former band-mate, bassist, William Parker always sounds good.

Jimmy was very level headed and calm. The only time I saw him get angry was off the band stand while we were travelling. Some bonehead fool had violated Jimmy's space in the men's room. Jimmy angrily reported him to the local train officials. The European official got on top of that situation. There was a time when it meant something to be an American citizen. Over the years, the image of the US has gone down. Regardless, Jimmy was quickly backed to his normal self after the incident passed. We were travelling to our next show somewhere in Europe.

When we got on the train, I would show Jimmy and Raphé some of my drumming techniques. This was at Jimmy's request. He was curious about what I was playing. I would play my ideas slowly and then give Jimmy my sticks and ask him to repeat what I had played. Jimmy caught on quickly as did Raphé. Ware already knew drumming concepts. He would show me stuff whenever we got together during Apogee (this was a trio consisting of David S. Ware on tenor sax, Gene Ashton - piano, and yours truly on drums) rehearsals.

Raphé would tease Jimmy while we were on the road and we would all laugh.

There was a lot of good nature kidding and joking in the band. This helped to release the tension we'd sometimes feel after playing such intense sets while the band was on tour.

Before we went to Europe, the band did a short tour in the US and Canada.

We went to the West Coast performing in San Francisco at a club called the Keystone Corner. What was interesting about this club was it had a colourful painting on the side of the building. It featured Sonny Rollins playing a large horn of plenty. I told David that I had seen this image in a dream. In my dream, the horn was huge. Newk was playing it, standing on the second floor of a small building while the bell of the horn extended down to the street sidewalk. At the street level, the horn had an extremely wide opening. Newk was incredibly melodic on this instrument. I don't think I've heard him play better except on a small select few of his albums. I was in a state of disbelief when I saw that painting. I kept a diary so I know I wrote it down prior to our visiting the club.

We played there for a week. Just before we went on, Archie Shepp and others in his band were treating us (David, Raphé and yours truly) like we were inexperienced little boys). After we played the first set that put an end to that mentality. Their attitude changed fast. They saw that we were dead serious about playing the Free Jazz.

They started treating us with a lot more respect, even as their equals.

I could tell Cecil was pleased with the band. During the rehearsals, we were playing the lines so well that he started smiling as we went through his compositions. Jimmy sounded great soaring over the music, while Cecil and I kept creating chaotic vortexes, whirl winds of destruction underneath. Sometimes, Cecil stood while the band played the lines and he would observe what we were doing. At times, either of the horn players would ask Cecil a question regarding the phrasing of the lines. Cecil readily provided the answers. The horns did sound good. They could do no wrong with the lines. We didn't realize it but the preparation was the major reason we were able to get to this audience, emotionally and otherwise.

The crowd was very hip to the Free Jazz. They were with us and they showed their love by giving us standing ovations at the end of each set, night after night. It was unbelievable. I have never had this experience in my later years when I've done shows. Some in the audience had only planned to see us play for one night. After we played so well, the word or mouth went out and the next night, even more people had shown up to catch the band. Everyone was in fine form. I don't know if anyone recorded the music from the CT Unit nor Archie Shepp's band.

Both bands were competing somewhat although we weren't thinking of it that way.

What I liked about Jimmy and Cecil is their use of melodic lines or themes. Not all musicians in the Free Jazz use this approach. This is how I learned this music. It was through the use of written compositions and/or lines that I learned how to support horn players when they're soloing. This technique is also useful when one is playing behind more than one horn player whether it be a small group or a large ensemble. A drummer must listen and simply be aware of what's happening in the band.

It's not a free-for-all. There's a lot of listening involved. Jimmy was aware I had the ability to pay attention and he would utilize this in the CT Unit. Even with my loud drumming I was able to maintain a certain level of excitement in the music based upon what was happening at any given musical moment. This, in my opinion, cannot be taught. Such a quality has to come from the artist. Either you have it, or you don't. Jimmy and Cecil were pleased that all of us played our butts off at each and every show. It didn't matter if we were tired, jet-lagged or whatever. When we got on the band stand, we always took care of business.

When the band went to Canada, we had to change planes at the Seattle airport in order to get to Vancouver. The airport had a futuristic appearance. I almost expected to hear a director say "Cut! That's a wrap."

I had never seen an airport like this one; very impressive! We had to take a shuttle to travel to a different section of the airport to catch our plane. Again, the shuttle looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I was bowled over. Once we arrived in Vancouver, we headed for the hotel.

That night we played at a club called Oil Can Harry. I remember the term from a western movie, although I can't recall its significance at the moment. A writer spoke to Jimmy and Jimmy complained to me afterward. He thought the writer's comments were off base. That's what most musicians have told me about writers over the years. I told Jimmy, "Here's my take on that scenario".

When we started playing Cecil was playing by himself. The writer was listening to Cecil doing a solo act. Cecil was now the focus of his attention. After Cecil had played at length, you joined in. Now the writer is focusing on the two of you." I watched them play for a while and at some point I joined in drumming somewhat loudly. Because the writer was already engaged with Cecil and Jimmy, he told Jimmy after the set that what he had played was the best that he had heard Jimmy play in years. Jimmy didn't like the writer's comments. Jimmy told me, "Marc, I'm always playing," and that was true. Jimmy always played his ass off. After I had shared my opinion, Jimmy could see where the writer was coming from. Because the three of us did not all play together at the same time until the very end, that made the writer see and hear Jimmy in a different light.

I don't know if it was the same writer, but a writer did approach me later during the week. He was asking a lot of questions. The impression I got, "He's trying to get me to validate his ideas and opinions about the music." I thought he was nuts. His opinions were so off the wall, I'm glad I don't have a clear recollection of what he wanted me to validate. I don't need that kind of junk in my head. Over all, the band played well at the club. Attendance was light if I remember correctly. I believe I did see this same writer at a Jazz talk that was held at the Village Vanguard.

This was the "Talking Jazz Live at the Village Vanguard" on April 26, 2002. Three talks were held there. I was primarily interested in the second talk which discussed the plight of the Jazz musician. The name of that talk was "Work Song." This was an in-depth survey of Jazz musicians.

I had participated in this survey and offered my thoughts about the music and the problems musicians face within the Free Jazz. All of the thoughts and opinions were collected and compiled into this one report.

As I sit here digesting these new sounds from Jimmy Lyons and company, the current scene of musicians doing the Free Jazz are a lot poorer for not having been here when Jimmy was alive. Few alto saxophonists can measure up to the level Jimmy played on. Most alto saxophonists doing this music are weak. They really need to study the alto a lot more. Few are willing to do this. Most young musicians are too busy concentrating on becoming the next biggest thing in Jazz and they're not taking care of business where it counts; achieving mastery of their respective instrument. This isn't limited to those on the alto saxophone; it cuts across the board for all instrumentalists. Jimmy kept pushing himself and he found new challenges to help improve his playing. Practicing is the key but it has to be tempered with performances in front of live audiences. Keep doing this and you'll grow. Anyone will grow using this formula.

I'm sadden that too many of the young musicians are busy looking for short cuts so they can make a name for themselves. I've been playing a number of years, and I conclude that there are none. I wish Jimmy had lived longer; then, the scene would be much stronger in terms of the musical output I'm hearing from the young upcoming musicians. They are the losers in the tragic situation. I hope they will continue to study their horns and include daily offerings of listening to this Jimmy Lyons box set. This will help to make up for Jimmy's absence. It is almost impossible to calculate Jimmy's impact on the Free Jazz scene. There are too many variable to come to a reasonable answer. I can safely say that we were lucky to have Jimmy Lyons with us period. It's unsung heroes like a Jimmy Lyons that keep things moving. Their presence keeps others on their toes.

We don't have as many players on this level today. The few that remain are old and they're getting older. Some day, they too will pass on. I hope that the listeners of this box set will play this music for their family, especially the children. We have to cultivate their musical tastes while they're young, not when they enter the school system. By then it may already be too late. Start with them while they're babies and keep giving them a healthy dose of good music.

I had been off the scene for a good ten years. All of a sudden during May 1986, I was filled with inspiration to play music again. This happened while I was doing my evening meditation. I certainly wasn't expecting anything like this to happen.

I later learned that Jimmy was dying during this month. I called David S. Ware and told him that I felt we should start playing again. David wasn't thrilled. He was in a cycle where he didn't want to perform. Ware told me, "This is why we're good for each other. When you feel like playing, I don't and vice versa." I decided to give him the rest of the details. I told Ware, "I received information during that meditation. I was told that we needed to start playing now because certain opportunities were coming and we needed to position ourselves so we could take advantage of them when they arrived." That got Ware's attention. He said, "We'll have to start playing again." I knew he wouldn't dismiss that last bit of information. We started to rehearse and I was very out of shape. It took a while to regain my playing form.

Had it not been for the inspiration I received from Jimmy Lyons, I might very well have not returned to scene and began playing in public again. I was happily living a normal life, a life in which many people that I would meet did not know who I was. I was okay with that. For some artists, this is what they live for. Not all of us are in agreement on this but this is how it is for me. I hope in the days ahead, the Jazz media will give Jimmy his due and give him the recognition he so richly deserves. I was communicating with another musician recently and we touched base on this subject. Some of the artists that get the most attention aren't the ones that are the true trailblazers. They are neither carrying nor bringing new music to the table. They're using someone else's sound and they're forging careers. I have always found the Jazz media totally incomprehensible. Perhaps more years are required to pass before the dust settles. When it does, future generations will discover Jimmy Lyons and recognize that he was a special musician within the Free Jazz category. This is something that may or may not happen in my lifetime. Whenever it does occur, the Free Jazz will be a lot better off because with the attention, aspiring young musicians will begin to study the things they need to know and not short change themselves as is the case with some of the musicians currently on the scene. This will be a great day when that happens.

Jimmy Lyons was one of the greatest musicians I've had the opportunity to work with. Cecil Taylor would be the other. One does not often meet musicians of this calibre. Speaking as a member of a small group of musicians that worked with Jimmy (& Cecil), it was an honour and a privilege to work with Jimmy.

Do tell your friends about this Box Set and let's help turn others on to his music. One final word to the Jazz media:

It is my hope, my wish, that Jimmy gets his due in the near rather than distant future.

Oluyemi Thomas, saxophonist. About Cecil Taylor Unit´s performance at Keystone Corner, March, 1976:
The performance of the Cecil Taylor unit was very deep and long. I really enjoyed talking with the unit during the break. We all looked at each other with creative joy and firmness, meaning the music was strong and sweet so they looked like the artists that would make frontier minded tones as they wonderfully did. Awesome was that night, the music was being built before my eyes and soul to help me be a more universal spirit being for service to all. I remember and can still hear the music clearly after 38 years ago. Also I remember the beautiful painting of Sonny Rollins on the wall of the building. Marc is right lovely.
Mr. Jimmy is among the best Alto Saxophonist to blow this frontier minded music. He has the cleanest sound, quick thinking, breathing and hands, fullness of tones, direct focus all time and most of all he is connected to the deep modern/ancient spirit world.
I really enjoyed watching him release his joy on his horn, indeed so…
True evolving artist and gentleman, we still and always will love him.
MR - JIMMY - ALTO – LYONS.  Smiles.
 - Oluyemi Thomas - Bass Clarinet, Saxophone


Ras Moshe, tenor saxophonist

"Ah... Jimmy Lyons. I saw his bands whenever he played. I think I was 13 the first time I saw him. He didn't play that frequently and that's unfortunate, just like Julius Hemphill. His music was incredible...very thought out and disciplined without sacrificing the freedom in the music...he knew Elmo Hope, Bud Powell...he was an original Harlemite. He wrote out some exercises for me that was a great help...hard as hell..but it was worth it..I learned through him that Avant Garde music was not about bullshitting the people and then getting praised for it. I especially remember his performance at The Sound Unity Festival in the spring of '84...Raphe, Karen Borca, William Parker, Paul Murphy...my mind is still blown. We talked on the phone a lot, he was very cool. I didn't know he was sick. I asked him teenage questions like "do you like Jackie McLean"...he got a kick out of that one...he laughed and said "little brother, Jackie is my man..." He actually made me ungrip a Beer with a look at the Blue Note when he was playing there with Cecil in the winter of '84, I was ready to drink it and he gave me a fierce look..that's all he had to do! I let that bottle go with a real quickness. We need to go back to that those days...the way things are now. Sure enough, I tune in to WKCR and I hear about the "late Jimmy Lyons"...oh boy...I think I threw a sandwich against the wall. He told me to "practice and study the classic "Jazz" music, but use it to be free in the music...and fuck what they have to say..." Right on Jimmy Lyons...and thanks for your encouragement...many people were not in the habit of encouraging crazy little Black Jazz fans by the time the '80's came around. I'll get into that at another time sisters and brothers...."

Drummer Dominic Fragman about Paul Murphy´s recording "Cloud Burst":

Cloud Burst is Mad Murphy Records second release. MM2, recorded February 1983 at RCA. This is the first time that RCA ever recorded digital. The company that recorded that session was called Soundstream Inc. Dr. Thomas G. Stockham Jr. founded Sounstream in 1975 out of Salt Lake City, Utah. They were the world's first digital audiophile recording company, providing commercial services for recording and computer-based editing. Also, at this session RCA and Soundstream recorded Paul's drums sound and Jimmy's alto sound to be use as sound sources and reference points for the initial settings for Drum Set and Alto Saxophone.

Drummer Paul Muphy: "I loved Jimmy with all my heart .We were very close and the music strongly alludes to our musical thoughts and exploration of composition. Jimmy was the strongest musician I ever played with."

Ras Moshe: I will never forget seeing The Jimmy Lyons Ensemble in 1984 at The Sound Unity Festival. Incredible.Raphe-Karen Borca-Paul Murphy-William Parker.... I couldn't believe that music. The music was tight,but the tightness wasn't a reduction or compromise of the freedom in the music. Not at all. So,I never had that hangup of being "unconnected to tradition",just through hearing these people in person.

I met him when I was 17..I excitedly asked him a really silly 17 year old question: "Do you like Jackie McLean?!"
He enjoyed that one a lot. He laughed and said:"yeah man,Jackie's my man..I've been knowing him forever,that's the cat to listen to."

Finally, Andrew Cyrille again:

"Jimmy Lyons and his music lives within me".


Performances and Recordings of Jimmy Lyons compositions:

Glenn Spearman Recorded Jimmy Lyon's composition (?) "Lyons Roars" in May 1994.

On cassette "Glenn Spearman Sextet, Mobiu Music".

with Glen Spearman,ts; Lisle Ellis,b; Marco Enedi,as; Raphe' Malik,tp; Donald Robinson,dr; James Routhier,g.

Biggi Vinkeloe The CD "Biggi Vinkeloe Trio – Mr. Nefertiti", Canastereo 124801/J, has the following compositions by Jimmy Lyons:

- "Wee Sneezawee".

- "Jump Up".

- "Shakin Back"

Biggi Vinkeloe, as, fl; Georg Wolf,b; Peeter Uuskyla,dr.

Mats Gustafsson Performed and recorded on private tape: "Homage á Jimmy Lyons" in concert at the Museum of Art, Norrköping, Sweden, June 30, 1998.

Mats Gustafsson,as, Peter Brötzmann,ts, Tommy Scotte,b, Kjell Nordeson,dr.

Karen Borca 98-0525 Orensanz Art Center, NYC

This concert was part of a Vision Festival Tribute to Jimmy Lyons.

Jimmy Lyons composition "Something Is the Matter" was performed by:.

Karen Borca(bassoon,cond), John Hagan(ss,fl,ts), Jeff Hoyer(tb), Arthur

Brooks(tp), Glydis Loman(cello), Scott Currie(bs), Rob Brown(as), Marco

Eneidi(as), Mark Hennon(p), William Parker(b), Jackson Krall(dr), Lisa


Marco Eneidi Cotton Hill Studios, Albany, NY

September 12 & 13, 1991

Released on cassette:

- "Driads"

- "Never"

Marco Eneidi(as), Raphé Malik(tp), Glenn Spearman(ts), William

Parker(b), Jackson Krall(dr)

Mathias Rissi Q4 Orchester Project – Lyons' Brood

A 16 pieces group recorded under leader and composer Mathias Rissis'

his work "Lyons' Brood" in Tonstudio Lussi, Basel, Switzerland on

November 25 & 26, 1989.

Creative Works Records, CW 1018-3

Charles Tyler recorded on 92-0330 a composition he called: "Photo of Cecil Taylor and Jimmy Lyons" (Bleu Regard CT 1942).

John Tchicai (tenor saxophone)
Glenn Spearman (tenor saxophone), Lisle Ellis (bass) and Mark Oi (guitar)
"What To Do About (Jimmy Lyons)"
November 14th, 1993, Bannam Place Theatre, San Francisco, California

Deric Dickens

Drummer Deric Dickens has released a recording of his Jimmy Lyons tribute band "Words Are Not Enough" recorded in NYC in March, June and August 2014.
Three of Jimmy Lyons kompositions are on the record: "We Sneezawee",
"Premonition" and "My You".
Record: "Streams", Tree Music MTM-005

Deric Dickens and altosaxophonist Jarrett Gilgore has also released a Lyons/Cyrille inspired duo recording called: "Pallaksch", Tree Music.