In the intersection of Christian and Contemporary jazz Ray Lyon has his field of activity. His studio is called Balsam Pillow studio, a name a program. Foundational to Ray's approach to his music is his Christian faith; that which he calls a "personal relationship" with Jesus Christ. "I received Jesus as my Savior when I was 14 years old, and ever since then have been held by his grace." Ray believes that all music, and the talents that he has, are a gift from God and he seeks to glorify God by portraying what he believes is beauty, truth, and hope in his music.

Ray Lyon has released on his own label Burning Blue Records three albums, Farewell To Shadowlands (1993), Figures Of The True (2000) and in 2007 Beginning To See. His albums are Christian inspired. His music immediately reminds at Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. Ray relates, "I felt like I had heard that music before, and I will never forget the first time I heard "Are You Going With Me?" I was floored. That tune expressed much of the concept I was after, though unformed in me. I could relate so much to the way they made music, the dramatic concept, the emphasis on the solo as a "composition", and the structural form. Lyle Mays' playing resonated with my own orchestral style of playing and it was Pat's musical vision and concept that so harmonized with my own. Their music, and dedication to their craft, is a constant source of inspiration for me."

Experts of Ray's music know that his CDs are pre-planned concept albums with contemporary jazz themes. One can consider his music as unified art, not simple as a collection of songs. Although Beginning To See is a one-man-project, Ray performs nearly all instruments with the exception of some support of musical friends, the album is absolutely perfect and stands comparison with professional projects of major labels.

The album starts with Up The Spiral Stairs. The song features vocalist Rick Krive who is not only an incredible singer and jazz pianist, but one of the most sought after music arrangers in the music industry today. He performed among others with Gloria Estefan. Currently he is involved in the project The Circle. Ray adapted the lyrics of the song from The Diary Of An Old Soul by George McDonald. McDonald's use of fantasy as a literary medium for exploring the human condition greatly influenced a generation of such notable authors as C. S. Lewis (who featured him as a character in his The Great Divorce), J. R. R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L'Engle.

My personal favorite on Lyon's album is Keep Going. This tune is the answer to Are You Going With Me? from the album Offramp by Pat Metheny. Ray first called this tune "Pat On The Back" before he changed the title. You can feel and hear that heart touching deja vue effect as if you would listen to an undiscovered secret record of Metheny. Without any doubt Ray has reached this high level of authenticity following Lyle Mays' harmonica-like synth theme or Pat Metheny synth Roland guitar lead.

It is hard to free from Metheny's spell but with Is It You Or The World? Ray sets his own milestone in contemporary jazz. What a virtuosity and mastership in piano performance. Unforgettable and ingenious. Surfing on the wave of dreams Ray delivers with Warrior Joy the next mountain. In the middle of the tune Ed Maina jumps in with his furious tenor sax.

On The Smooth Of The Hill is featuring anew singer Rick Krive. The combination of vocals and orchestral synth reminds me of Jon and Vangelis, although this comparison fails because of the Metheny-inspired structure and composition of the song.

So we are back again with Beginning To See in the soundscape of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. Ray has inhaled the complex harmonic and metric structure of Lyle's musical signature. He is building suspense through gradation and ascension like Lyle does.

The contemplative piano/synth tune Even Now A Glimpse finished this remarkable album with cautious tones.

Deeply impressed by the beauty of this album I recommend Beginning To See as a start-up to a new increased hearing habit, a further step into contemporary jazz.




  • Bio
  • Ray Lyon's website
  • CD available at
  • Title: Beginning To See
    Artist: Ray Lyon
    Year: 2007
    Length: 0:51:32
    Genre: General Jazz
    Label: Burning Blue Records

    01 Up The Spiral Stairs [8:37]
    02 Keep Going [8:50]
    03 Is It You Or The World? [7:37]
    04 Warrior Joy [7:25]
    05 On The Smooth Of The Hill [7:30]
    06 Beginning To See [8:10]
    07 Even Now A Glimpse [3:22]