Groundbreaking album by the Pat Metheny Group
This was the first Jazz album I ever bought: back in 1982 in San Francisco, Ca.. I was guided by the hugely impressive reviews in my favourite magazines and thought that one day I would have to start getting into Jazz anyway, so why not with this, obviously outstanding album?
I was not disappointed: this album was far removed from the ideas of jazz I had until that moment and it sounded like nothing else I heard before in my life: the soundscapes produced by Metheny and his band were so far removed from the mainstream in the early eighties, that it sounded almost alien, as Metheny uses mainly guitar synthesizers and a Synclavier guitar. The rhythm section is incredibly tight, with Nana Vasconcelos, Dan Gottlieb and Steve Rodby obviously on fully synchronised autopilot.
The album starts with a pulsating, woven wall of sound with "Barcarole", obviously heavily influenced by the bands guest percussionist, Nana Vasconcelos. This is followed by the hauntingly beautiful "Are you going with me", in which Lyle Mays's mellow keyboards and Metheny's heavily synthesized guitar almost hold a conversation over seven minutes, with some goosebump inducing harmonic combinations. "Eighteen" is a bit more upbeat and even dares to dip into 70's inspired R&B with Mays' weird sounding organ. Weakest track (for me personally, but tastes vary) is the freestyle cacophony of "Offramp", which is a bit too free-jazzy for my taste. Best track on the album (again, in my opinion) is the incredibly uplifting "James". This is Metheny and his band at their best and they've never sounded better again.
How to listen to this album? I think it should be dark, there should be no distractions, no alcohol or drugs should be involved. The Hifi should better be a darn good one (the production is impeccable) or a good set of headphones should be used.
Sit down. Press Play. Close your eyes. See what happens.....
- Are you going with me?
- Au lait
- The Bat part II