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Pat Metheny - Pat Metheny Group: Still Life (Talking) CD (album) cover

PAT METHENY GROUP: STILL LIFE (TALKING)

Pat Metheny

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.95 | 98 ratings

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Flemdido
4 stars This recording builds on the musical styles established with their "First Circle" recording, featuring on some tracks the use of voices (generally without recognizable lyrics) as instruments. It's very uplifting, pleasant music to enjoy, and can equally delight the listener who wants to focus on the intelligent construction of complex music, and also can serve as very pleasant background music for those who prefer not to concentrate on the music. As always with the recordings of Pat Metheny, the band is very tight and the technical skills of the musicians are top-notch. I consider the music on this album to be creative, cutting- edge music for its time. It is NOT the insipid blather of so-called soft jazz, although simpletons will no doubt mistakenly lump it in with that category.

Munuano (Six Eight) begins quietly and slowly builds; it is a song that reminds me of the glorious "First Circle" title track of their earlier album. It's constructed around a repeated melody constructed with a simple piano track and tonal vocals, with other accompaniment building on it, including some good guitar licks.

So May It Secretly Begin is a laid-back jam that meanders delightfully through the talents of the musicians; while not exceptional, it is a solid and most enjoyable experience, and one of my favorite tracks on this album.

Last Train Home is perhaps the track from this album that has received the most play, at least it's one I've heard on jazz radio on numerous occasions. It's dominated by Pat's guitar synthesizer and to me evokes the image of the rhythm of a dependable train dependably carrying its passengers homeward, if you can imagine that in music.

(It's Just) Talk is has a lively latin feel to the rhythm. The very well-arranged lead melody is a mix of electric guitar and voicings, and it features a splendid piano solo beginning at about the 2:00 mark that displays the virtuosity of Lyle Mays. One of my all-time favorite tracks from the PMGroup.

Thirdwind has a lively beginning and nice melody, and includes some nice electric guitar solo beginning at about the 1:35 mark. There are percussion and piano passages that are quite nice, and the vocals are used with nice effect. Overall it's a good tune, but at about the 7:00 mark, synth guitar takes over and dominates the rest - I find it to be rather grating in how it's used here, and it definitely damages the last 1:30. Note this certainly reflects my disdain for the scraping-across-the-chalkboard feeling I get from the synth guitar.

Distance is short, haunting song by Lyle Mays, primarily synthesizer, that provides an interesting change of pace to make the transition in mood between Thirdwind and the concluding ballad.

In Her Family brings the album to a close. It is a soft piano ballad that leaves the listener in a relaxed, mellow mood, and is very nicely arranged and orchestrated.

If you're looking for upbeat, get yer ya-yas out jams, this isn't your kind of music. If instead you seek thoughtful, creative and engaging music for your brain, you might really enjoy this work. It's not my favorite Pat Metheny Group album, but is certainly good music and worth adding to your collection if you like PMG. I rate it a solid 4 stars for the listener who appreciates creative and engaging music.

Let there be peace.

Flemdido | 4/5 |

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