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Pat Metheny - Bright Size Life CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars A fantastic album, by fantastic musicians.

I was very pleasantly surprised upon the first listen of this album. My first exposure to Pat Metheny was this past October, when I saw him and his band live, which was an absolutely incredible experience. I figured I should check out some of his albums, and this seemed like a good place to start.

From the very beginning, Pat creates some amazing msuic, with the incredible Jaco Pastorius on bass guitar and Bob Moses on drums. Bright Size Life is an uplifting and memorable tune, with some great solo work by Pat and Jaco.

Sirabhorn starts out soley with Pat, playing a mystifying and beautiful part on his guitar. The song is slow and soothing, with some beautiful fretless bass playing by Jaco Pastorius. Great song.

Unity Village is soley Pat, soloing over some chord changes. Simple, but beautiful.

Missouri Uncompromised is a good wakeup call after Unity Village. With some intricate drumming from Bob Moses, this song is a bit more free form and up tempo, and all musicians seem to really let loose. Yet another awesome song.

Midwestern Nights Dream begins once again soley with Pat, playing his guitar gently. The song becomes absolutely beautiful once the bass and drums join, making some dynamic music with Pat's soothing guitar work. Jaco takes yet another wonderful bass solo in this one. Absolutely awesome song, one of my favorites.

Unquity Road is interesting to listen to, to say the least. The chord changes and timing are intruiging, and Pat's playing is simply awesome.

Omaha Celebration is a bit more upbeat, but still stays calm and relaxed. Pat solos very well, and Jaco and Bob groove extremely well also. Another great tune, fun to listen to.

Round Trip, Broadway Blues begins with some synchronized playing between Jaco and Pat, then heads into a very free form jam. Jaco takes an unbeleivable bass solo, making his virtuosity as apparent as ever. The song ends abrubtly, and the album is over.

It's very hard to find anything wrong in this album. Very solid musicianship and songwriting throughout. There's no doubt in my mind this album deserves 5 stars.

Report this review (#75493)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Even before he reached twenty, Pat contributed to two first-rate albums by the Gary Burton Quintet, RING and PASSENGERS (both marvellously melodic and exciting).

Then, in 1975, Pat got to do his first solo album on the ECM label. As far as I can see, this album has nothing to do with prog, it's an out-and-out jazz session, but as such, it's one of the most refreshing I know.

The pearly tone of Pat's jazz guitar blends wonderfully with Jaco Pastorius' superior bass playing and Bob Moses' virtuoso drumming. By turns abstract and lyrical, BRIGHT SIZE LIFE is full of refreshing moments that will keep you happy for a lifetime.

So don't be put off by the fact that this is only 37 minutes long. One of the all-time ECM classics!

Report this review (#100745)
Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars The first offering from the PAT METHENY GROUP is a reserved instrumental work with little in the way of out breaks. Simply put, this is drums, guitar and bass playing a light brand of Jazz. The players are of course Pat Metheny on guitar, Jaco Pastorius on bass and Bob Moses on drums. There is lots of intricate playing but everything sounds so similar and samey including the songs.

The first two songs "Bright Size Life" and "Sirabhorn" are very light and jazzy. "Unity Village" is a little more melodic. "Missouri Uncomprimised" is a little more uptempo. The best song is "Midwestern Nights Dream" probably because it's the first song where the guitar playing of Pat's sounds different then the other songs. "Unquity Road" features some great playing by Metheny, while the next one is laid back again. A little more action on the closer.

Cool to hear Pastorius and Metheny together, I just wish this was more dynamic.

Report this review (#118469)
Posted Sunday, April 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pat Metheny's debut is not particularly one of his stronger works, but it is definitely a good album. Filled with the delicate yet speedy guitar work of the masterful Metheny himself, and the really fat, really great bass playing by the legend Jaco Pastorius. Jaco's feel for the instrument is undeniable, and his playing shows soul, conviction, and talent. Bob Moses' drums match the music perfect, but are by no means stellar (in comparison to the two other virtuosos).

Musicianship aside, the compositions usually comprise of a single melody, or two, played at the beginning and end of the song, with solos between. There is hardly anything progressive about this debut, and it is quite simply, an excellent mellow jazz album. It is actually quite soft, with nothing aggressive or angry, and very little that would be considered dark, just atmospheric, emotional, laid-back playing. The bass and guitar interplaying is an integral part of the album, and without the great musical connection between Pat and Jaco, this album would have failed miserably. But it doesn't, and in fact it works perfectly to deliver a majestic and lush finished product.

The only significant shortcoming of the album is the cosmic and spacious piano that would become a key aspect to his later works. But the album does quite well without. Bright Size Life is a very, very beautiful, and extremely compelling atmospheric, mellow jazz experience. With little progressive elements, this marks the starting point of a very fruitful, very progressive career of one of the most influential and talented jazz guitarist around.

Report this review (#134021)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Note: Technically, this isn't Pat Metheny Group, or Trio. Its a solo album. A very good at that too. This record has its ups and downs, but it pulls through in the end because of some really atmospheric and moody music. My heart strings are being pulled just by hearing the title track. Nevertheless, this is where two future jazz giants got their start. Jaco Pastorious and Pat Metheny. Now most people find this record to be boring or lame. I'll ask them to ask any jazz guitarist their hero and I can guarantee almost half of them will say Metheny. This record is solid and although not mega technical, it stands out and I'm proud to have it in my collection.
Report this review (#195965)
Posted Monday, December 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars On the plus side the three musicians are great players and demonstrate their chops pretty well, albeit in a light straight jazz context. On the minus side much of the playing seems directionless, overly-noodly and meandering.

On the plus side Metheny's playing is distinctive from the start (his first solo album). On the minus side he hasn't learned to write proper melodies yet, i.e. to simplify to create something memorable that a listener can hook onto.

The slower sparer tracks like 'Unity Village' and 'Midwestern Nights Dream' probably come off the best as they have space to 'say' something rather than just meandering along in a semi- busy way.

Really because of the undeniable quality of playing on it, this album cannot be given less than 3 stars. Also I am sure it will appeal more to those into straighter jazz than I. BUT 'Bright Size Life' cannot get more than 3 stars from me because it does not progress beyond straight jazz and because (and this is the crux) contrary to what we have come to expect from Metheny THERE ARE NO REALLY GREAT MEMORABLE TUNES HERE!

Report this review (#219764)
Posted Thursday, June 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It was competing with Gary Burton exactly that Pat showed the glimpse of the technology. The remark said that he respects Gary at time in one's teens and it can perform all tunes of Gary will not be a lie. He might already have found the point that he had to establish really though he competed with Ornette Coleman that he respected back. Pat accomplishes an impact debut by this album. The performance of man who had a sensibility that differed obviously from the guitar style of existing Jazz till then and was peculiar got into the news at once in the world. Pat announces this album from ECM and the work of interim Pat has been released from ECM. Then, he has left a very reformative work. The form of Solo and two faces of PMG are his still lifeworks exactly. Of course, contact is tried with various musicians. The same thing might be able to be said to this album in the respect. This Trio to be accompanied by familiar, deep Bob Moses and Jaco Pastorius considerably has fantastic feelings as much as possible also in the band with Gary Burton. It might be condensed to the performance with feelings of the country a little that the environment and man who had grown up Pat showed with this album. He has the impression that gives the listener the character in this album and own message. It visits by "SirabHorn" and "Midwestern Night Dream", etc. and it might be able to know it. Bass of Jaco is really good each other and affixes the flower to the creation of Pat. Those originality is being splendidly expressed by these three people. Besides, all are tunes of Pat though "Round Trip/Broadway Blues" is a tune of Ornette. An excellent musician without limiting it to the item of Jazz in the ability of the composition can express the fact deflecting also with musical instruments. It takes to the musician whether to be able to express it with musical instruments by composing very. It might be one person of "Expressionist" that Pat is very few in the respect. He establishes the route of PMG after this album. It exists like the expressed original letter his of that character splendid this work and.
Report this review (#222877)
Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars 7/10

"Bright Size Life" is an album full of true gems.

Pat Metheny is one of the most famous jazz guitarists ever, along with other legends Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and such. Metheny released his first album back in 1976, and was very noticed among the fusion scene, thanks also to his immediately noticeable guitar playing, that still gives the chills today.

For this first album, the guitarist calls in the amazing bass player Jaco Pastorius to play during the recording sessions, as well as Bob Moses, the famous jazz drummer. The result of this is "Bright Size Life". The production here is sublime, extremely clean and delicate, and no instrument, surprisingly, is louder or more highlighted when the band plays all together. Metheny's guitars are as well very clean and pretty sounding, which is the thing that I liked the most about this album. Pastorius' bass, when played, is precise and decisive, absolutely brilliant bass playing. The drums are as well great, but I gotta put Bob Moses into the shadow a little bit; his playing pales into comparison of the other two musicians, in my opinion.

"Bright Size Life" is sure a Fusion album, but there are no electric moments here, expect for the fact that playing there is an electric guitar and electric bass; but it's definitely not Fusion as one would usually imagine, like Bitches Brew era Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Mahavishnu Orchestra.Like I mentioned before, this album is much cleaner sounding, and there is no distortion whatsoever. The music is relaxing, totally chilled out, and even haunting in some tracks, especially the more melodic ones. Then again the tone can be a little more enlivened in some points thanks to Metheny's solos.

the title track opens the album majestically, thanks to it's beautiful melody that will be regarded as one of Metheny's most famous. "Sirabhorn" is just as beautiful, but it's a little more minimalistic and tense. Even more tense is the six minute "Midwestern Nights Dream", very chilling and evocative. Some songs like "Unity Village" or "Missouri Uncompromised" are much less melodic and are mainly focused on improvisation. "Unquity Road" has a more peculiar and energetic melody, still being able to sound very fetching. "Round Trip" closes very cheerfully the album, thanks to the bluesy melodies. This was actually an Ornette Coleman cover.

A really good album, that has just a few songs that I don't care for, but all the others are true gems, that should be listened to if a jazz fan.

Report this review (#291966)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2010 | Review Permalink

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