Mes Amis is a Gypsy Jazz quartet based in central Maine. The name of the group is French for "my friends" and alludes both to the origins of the style as well as the feelings of the group for each other. They play an infectious mix of traditional Gypsy, Latin and American jazz standards, along with original compositions by lead guitarist and vocalist Steve Lynnworth. Rhythm guitarist Toby Tyler provides "La Pompe," the steady backbeat typical of the style. Longtime David Mallett sideman Michael Burd holds down the bottom on upright bass and adds his distinct voice to the group as a soloist. Pamela Tyler is the most recent addition to the group, sharing her sweet voice along with her skills on the accordion and percussion. The band's recent CD Tomorrow Is Another Day also prominently features some Getz-esque tenor sax from Lefty McAuslin. Pam’s voice is evocative on Autumn Leaves in both French and English, and on a few tracks, alternate bassist Wells Gordon delivers with memorable arco.
Here is a review of the CD from Portland, Maine based singer/songwriter Bob Rasero:
Steve - It's rare anymore for me to be moved by new recordings, but your CD is really fabulous!!! Your playing is superb, with taste and tone that is eloquent and passionate….as is your arranging and voice….I truly am humbled when I hear what you have accomplished with your fellow bandmates. You're a great writer as well. Everything is true to the genre, but somehow you updated it just right so its perfectly new and refreshing. I'll be listening and learning from this for a long time…Thank you my friend!
Originally from Waltham, Massachusetts, Steve Lynnworth started playing guitar at age 17. He was fortunate to study early on with Boston area jazz great and Berklee graduate Gerry Beaudoin, giving him a strong foundation in jazz and music theory. Later, he was mentored by blues virtuoso Ronnie Earl, who gave his lessons on stage; he'd hand over his vintage Stratocaster and let Stevie front the band at the Sit'n'Bull Pub, Harpers Ferry, and The House of Blues. Since moving to Maine with his wife Nadine in 1994, Steve has played in numerous local bands. His own group, the Swinging Blue Matadors, playing original compositions, won the 1996 battle of blues bands sponsored by the Portsmouth NH Blues Bank Collective. He has backed up national artists Shirley Lewis and Pinetop Perkins, jammed onstage with Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, and opened shows for Johnny Winter, Dickie Betts, and B.B. King. In 1998 he was asked to take over the guitar chair for the band Big Chief, and has been playing with them ever since. He has been teaching private lessons at Musician's 1st Choice in Augusta since 2002, and is the guitar instructor at the University of Maine in Farmington. Steve is also the author of Understanding The Chords, an instructional reference book for guitarists who want to understand music theory and their instruments without having to learn to read music.
Steve always had a love for jazz guitar, but didn’t really get bitten by the Gypsy Jazz bug until 2008, after stumbling across some modern Gypsy players on YouTube. He was lucky enough to find a Gypsy style guitar at a local music store, and started practicing the new and demanding techniques. A workshop with the French Gypsy guitarist Stephane Wrembel in 2009 was life-changing, completely revamping Steve’s approach. In 2010, Toby Tyler came to see Steve for lessons in Gypsy Jazz. Steve quickly realized the two really just needed to play music together, and shortly thereafter they formed Mes Amis with bassist Greg Lindholm.