April 11, 2022

MSM Spotlight:
Bassist Will Lyle (MM ’22)
and the MSM Jazz Orchestra
pay tribute to Charles Mingus

Manhattan School of Music Celebrates the Musical Legacy of Charles Mingus takes place on April 12 at MSM and April 19 at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Bassist Will Lyle (MM ’22) talks about being in the concert with his fellow classmates and about graduating from MSM this spring with a Master of Music degree.

Will Lyle is an is an upright and electric bassist, bandleader, composer, arranger, and producer from Orange County, California, who is studying for a master’s degree with MSM alumnus and faculty member, the legendary bassist Ron Carter (MM ’61, HonDMA ’98). Carter is fresh from a 2022 GRAMMY win for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Before coming to MSM in 2020, Will toured Japan with Billy Kilson’s quartet and Indonesia with the Ron King Big Band, while also freelancing in the Los Angeles area. He is a member of hard bop pianist Jon Mayer’s trio, and his first album LA Source Codes was released in 2021 to critical praise.

photo by Toby Winarto (BM '19, MM '21)

Tell us about this performance paying tribute to Charles Mingus!

Will: An amazing band of some of MSM’s finest jazz students are paying tribute to the iconic bassist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Charles Mingus on April 12 at MSM and April 19 at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mingus was an architect and institution of several decades and genres of jazz music. He encompassed bebop, big band, the avant-garde, and his importance is on par with the highest echelon of jazz composers and musicians. We are playing some selections picked from decades of music written from the early 1950s to the mid 1970s, from classic albums such as Mingus Ah Um to Changes One, as well as subsequent compositions by our director, Maestro Jack Walrath, and a few arrangements of Mingus classics written by MSM composition students. It is truly a privilege to get to work with Mr. Walrath, who is himself a living legend and former member of Mingus’s band.

Being a bass player, like Mingus, how does this feel for you to play in this tribute to his music?

Will: These are perhaps impossible shoes to fill for any living bassist, not only because of Mingus’s ability to conduct while playing (thankfully we don’t have to!), but the incredible sound he produced (for the most part unamplified until later years) as well as his fantastic sense of time, groove, intonation, his note choices, and his extraordinary attention to compositional details. There are experienced bassists today who have impressive technique, but Mingus’s delivery was as powerful as it was personal. Alas, the best we can do is pretend.

Will Lyle (MM '22) at Dizzy's Club in April 2022, performing with MSM Interim Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen on trumpet

Why should people come see this show?

Will: Anyone who can appreciate live instrumental music will be amazed by the creativity, rhythm, infectious melodies, and at times outright chaos within Mingus’s compositional book. It is rare nowadays that jazz music is performed uniting several eras of jazz (swing, bebop, blues, avant-garde) within a large ensemble while maintaining the tradition and integrity of the time period in which it was written. Through witnessing our student ensemble, it will also perhaps give older generations hope that the future of jazz is in capable, energetic hands. For younger musicians and audiences, we may inspire them to like this music.

Video of the single "Forasteira" from Will Lyle's 2021 album "L.A. Source Codes"

Tell us about the Jazz Arts program at MSM. What are you enjoying about it?

Will: I enjoy the creativity and skill possessed by a large amount of my classmates, the rigor of the curriculum in several different areas of performance and composition, the highly competent and accomplished faculty, and the truly amazing library. I wish I could’ve spent an entire year looking through it. There are few music programs in the world which would allow you to investigate these kinds of academic and musical resources.

What is it that you enjoy about studying jazz in New York City?

Will: New York City is the largest amalgamation of serious young jazz musicians anywhere in the world. It’s a privilege to rub shoulders with them and be inspired by people who are your age or younger, and get honest critiques and feedback from some legends of this music who are still with us and play locally. It has forced me to grow and get my musicianship to new levels which were previously unseen to me.

What do you have coming up for the rest of the academic year and this summer?

Will: I graduate this May so I am very excited to begin my freelance and teaching career in earnest, and play as much as possible with people I look up to.

Will Lyle (MM '22) and participants in the Kendrick Scott drum master class at MSM, October 2021

“I enjoy the creativity and skill possessed by a large amount of my classmates, the rigor of the curriculum in several different areas of performance and composition, the highly competent and accomplished faculty, and the truly amazing library…There are few music programs in the world which would allow you to investigate these kinds of academic and musical resources.”

APR 12 | TUES
7:30 PM

Manhattan School of Music Celebrates the Musical Legacy of Charles Mingus

MSM Jazz Orchestra

Jack Walrath, Conductor
Ingrid Jensen, Trumpet

 

Neidorff-Karpati Hall
130 Claremont Ave
New York, NY 10027