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Pat Metheny - Still Life (Talking) (Pat Metheny group) CD (album) cover

STILL LIFE (TALKING) (PAT METHENY GROUP)

Pat Metheny

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.79 | 61 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This slick, polished, and refined record by Metheny features outstanding playing and performances, but comes with a sterile vibe whose appeal will largely depend on the personal taste of the listener. At it's best, Still Life is beautifully conceived and artful... at it's worst, it's pure syrupy-sludge dredged from the bucket of smooth jazz radio airways.

"Minuano" opens the album with a mellow, nuanced feel, with delicate textures and melodies building to a trademark Metheny guitar solo. His playing is dexterous, canny, and mostly vacuous due to a heavily processed sound. His gentle tone is easy to listen to, but difficult to latch on to because the production doesn't allow space for anything especailly engaging.

The song builds to a terrific high, giving way to a fast moving rhythmic break. I performed this song in high school jazz band, and seeing it on Still Life's track listing was a big reason I picked up this album, but I must say that the big band arrangement of this song is superior; however, the strength of the songwriting, playing, and feel to Metheny's version is still great, and the variety of tempo, dynamics, and instrumental work makes this a stand out track.

"So May It Secretly Begin" and "Third Wind" keep up this high standard of quality, delivering ambitious structure and playing. The other tracks are underwhelming, being either too airy and incomplete (in the case of the two closing tunes), or too insipid to mean much at all (like "It's Just Talk", whose Caribbean feel sounds like something from a recent Super Mario game). Still Life often uses a latin feel, but in sort of a "Sandals Tourist Resort" kind of way; I can't escape the notion that Metheny is playing it incredibly safe-- and that the energy, tone and production of this album plays very much to a white suburban audience.

Most of Still Life flits along without drawing one's attention, making it acceptable background music and not much else. Metheny's playing is, in my opinion, largely overrated, and probably only for fans comfortable with true jazz (rather than PA's fusion genre).

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Prog Leviathan | 2/5 |

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