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Pat Metheny - 80/81 CD (album) cover

80/81

Pat Metheny

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.18 | 28 ratings

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Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars If I could recreate sax solos in text, I so would.

NOTE: I am reviewing this from the single CD version, so Open and Pretty Scattered are omitted.

Pat Metheny, a fantastic jazz guitarist, has done it again. 80/81 is a fantastic double album. It is definitely one of my favorite folk-jazz crossovers, with fantastic musicianship all across the board from all the collaborators. Jazz improvisations are sprinkled here and there, which a nice color to the album. It may not be Genesis and it may not e Miles Davis, but it's still great.

Two Folk Songs, the two-track-but-really-one song, (on my version the two songs are combined), is a fantastic, you guessed it, folk song. The melodies are beautiful. Listening to them makes me feel like I'm flying high above the Great Plains, lead by fantastic saxophone soloing and other improv beauty. Although at some points the improv gets a little discordant, the track itself is beautiful. And, being a drummer, I love the drum solo in the middle of the track. Not only is it solely drums, the solo is rhythmically magnificent. The guitar solo in the middle of part 2 is fantastic. The jazz chords are wonderfully crafted to sound great. Short little bass solos with that organic acoustic sound are just amazing. Two Folk Songs: setting this record off on the very right foot!

Everyday I Thank You breaks away from the folkiness of the last track and brings the album into the smooth jazz territory. The sax solo in the intro just reminds me of a 90s sitcom love scene in a smoky bar. But after the dreamy solo, the rhythm and guitar pick up the song and take it to new heights. The amazing skill brought to the table by all the musicians really help this song along; just by playing a few chords in the right way, Metheny makes this song memorable. The sax solo might drag, but it still is a good song.

Goin' Ahead is a much more melancholy song, with soft melody and beautiful soloing. Metheny is really goin' ahead making feel great about life!

The title track really picks up the tempo for a speedy jazz track with synchronized sax and guitar soloing. The entire track is mostly a switch off solo based off that synchronized "head" section between Metheny and sax player Michael Brecker. It's a fun fusion track, with some speedy and sometimes odd solo sections.

The Bat is another slow melodic smooth jazz song. This features more soloing between guitar and sax. It's nice, but very similar to the other slower switch off solo tracks.

Turnaround is a fun track, opened by a nice bassline by Charlie Haden. A guitar solo is based off of the bassline. It speeds up at times, but is still mainly a switch off solo track, but this time between guitar and bass. It's still a great though.

ALBUM OVERALL: This album has it's ups and downs. Two Folk Songs is so amazing, however, that it's hard to say very many bad things about the album. Every Day I Thank You and The Bat are just slow smooth jazz songs and are essentially the same thing. 80/81 and Turnaround are also very similar, both sped up jazz improv tracks. The best songs on the album are Two Folk Songs and Goin' Ahead, mainly because they are different from the rest and the most creative. Sadly, I haven't heard the two tracks omitted from the single CD version, so I can't comment on them. With the inclusion of Two Folk Songs, the rating of the album is certainly elevated. Bravo to Metheny for that fantastic composition. 3+ stars.

Andy Webb | 3/5 |

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