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Pat Metheny - Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays: As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.16 | 114 ratings

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4 stars If you have heard less than a smattering of Pat Metheny's colossal body of work and are wondering where to turn for an introduction, perhaps all you need to know is that one "wise" critic once complained that Metheny was too close to progressive territory on this one. It was already my favourite Pat Metheny album of the 4 I've heard, but that cinched it.

When talking progressive, it's really about the 20 minute title cut that mixes ambient, electronic, trance, hushed vocals, and a chilling primary melody that seems to blend the ancient and the modern, or at least as modern as the American midwest can be. It's like nothing else I've heard from Metheny, and easily my choice for his pinnacle. I suspect the participation of Naná Vasconcelos on percussion and in the creative process gave the artist a welcome boost.

The rest of the disk is of equally high quality if less mystique. "Ozark" is a jaunty piano and acoustic guitar piece that sounds surprisingly authentic. The musicians then take it down a few notches for the lovely "September 15th", still by and large a mix of Mays' piano and Metheny's acoustic guitar. You have to be in a mellow mood for this one. "It's For You" is a happier piece with more fluttering synths and chants over 12 string. In the somewhat faster latter half, Metheny's lead guitar and effusive bass replace the keyboards as the central figure. The album closes with chants to the tune of "Amazing Grace", somehow fitting in light of the revelation that is AFWSFWF.

"As Falls Wichita" is an overall strong album but, for listeners on this site after some adventurous and eclectic music, it is chiefly the title cut that will tell you that you aren't in Kansas anymore, and that can only be a good thing.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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