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Pat Metheny - Speaking of Now CD (album) cover

SPEAKING OF NOW

Pat Metheny

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.85 | 68 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Speaking Of Now' - Pat Metheny Group (5/10)

Here is an album I had high expectations for. After a brilliant earnest introduction to the music of jazz fusion guitarist Pat Metheny with the album 'The Way Up', I was all too eager to look into some of the other music the man had made in more recent years. Seeing a copy of 'Speaking Of Now' checked in at the local public library, I was excited to take this home and give it an intent listen. Unfortunately, the progressive and engaging sound that I was first enchanted with is not here in nearly the sort of degree I would want, instead lending a hand to a banal, albeit very well performed style of smooth jazz. While 'Speaking Of Now' is certainly not a bad album, the somewhat harmless nature of the music leaves something to be desired.

The jazz played here can easily be described as background music; the sort of music that plenty of advertisements or corporations use when they meed a sort of music that won't offend anyone. Here you will hear a very clean sound on the guitar, met with plenty of major chords and soothing, almost ambient vocals. A great piece of music to relax to after a long day yes, but in terms of a full-fledged musical experience? 'Speaking Of Now' hints at brilliance, but it seems to come up short of anything worth being described as a masterpiece.

That being said, the album is saved in no small part due to the consistent and dynamic musicianship of all members involved. Of course, Metheny takes the spotlight here quite a bit more than the others, but overall, the listener is graced with a well-rounded, developed sound that is sure to put a stressed mind at ease. In terms of the compositions, things are kept generally upbeat, with a few tracks (such as the ambient ballad 'You') taking a slower- paced approach. All of the music on 'Speaking Of Now' is defined by its mellowness, which ultimately makes it an album one can only put on, should the mood fit.

While the compositions rarely have any significant or memorable parts to them, it is surprising how complex some of the arrangements can get in the music, considering how inherently mellow and laid-back the music is here. The spotlight here is always on the musicianship though, and regardless of a few more intricate moments to the songwriting, it is hard to praise the composition when it is neither dynamic, energetic, experimental or memorable. It is then the job of the musicians (Metheny included) to devote their efforts in transforming the lifeless arrangements into something that breathes with life. To a mixed extent, they succeeded.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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