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Pat Metheny - Pat Metheny Group CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a jazz album, flirting with the fusion style. The main attraction is Metheny's electric guitar solos. He has a very personal sound: his solos notes are not sustained: in other words, he plays a note, and immediately after, he plays the next one; he is really fast, and his guitar sound is very urban. The drums here are often fast, complex and well played. The bass is very rhythmic and sophisticated. Lyle Mays plays the piano and the keyboards; he is not still at his best here, but he gives a solid contribution: the modern keyboards give a fresh atmosphere to the whole; the keyboards, the piano, the guitars, the bass and the drums are well balanced and thus they all work together to make solid compositions.
Report this review (#75134)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The very first album from the 'Pat Metheny Group' comes across as a delightful april breeze.

It was recorded in the days when Pat still limited himself to playing old-fashioned jazz guitar. No trumpet-like guitar synths, no 24-string (or was that 36-string?) guitar harps, no rock-guitar distortion, no latin percussion, no wordless soft-jazz vocals...

At least three of the pieces included here have a distinctly 'symphonic' feel, especially the ten-minute "San Lorenzo" and the eight-and-a-half-minute "Phase Dance", two of the most attractive tunes Pat ever wrote. This is because Pat uses his band like a chamber orchestra. He eschews the typical jazz pattern of "briefly stated theme - solo - theme - solo - theme" and continually uses ALL instrumental colours in the best possible way, particularly Mark Egan's languid bass and Lyle Mays' grand piano and dreamy synths. Interestingly, on "San Lorenzo" it is Mays (on grand piano) and not Metheny who's granted an extended solo.

The remainder of the album has an intimate, 'homely' feel (I use 'homely' in the British sense, similar to 'cosy'), even though on 'Lone Jack', the final track, the main soloists (Pat and Lyle) once again go for broke and play their heart out.

If you're wondering how it is possible to approach "progressive rock" while starting out from the jazz side (and not approaching jazz-rock from the prog side, as Bill Bruford or Brand X have done), listen to this album. "San Lorenzo" and "Phase Dance" can also be found on Pat's excellent double live album TRAVELS, where Lyle Mays' piano solo sounds more urgent, but PAT METHENY GROUP has greater clarity and immediacy, since it was recorded in the studio.

Report this review (#133614)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why this album has only 3 ratings here is beyond me. This is Metheny in the raw without any synth-guitar at all. Clearly acoustic and electric playing. "San Lorenzo" is nothing short of breathtaking...and the rest of the album is on par. An ECM masterpiece!
Report this review (#135588)
Posted Friday, August 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of Metheny's earliest efforts (and indeed the debut the Pat Metheny group) is this album. Very limited (by the standards he later set) in terms of instruments, band members, and even a little bit in the compositions. With a small group of four (and no fancy guitars!), Metheny manages to create the large scale of a symphony. The speedy-demon guitar solos that sound majestic - and even personal - begin; the fast, cymbal-heavy drumming, and even the cosmic piano all begin here (though not fully matured quite yet).

Some more memorable (and perhaps even catchy) melodies appear throughout the album, completed by the smooth dynamic shifts, the mind-blowing musicianship, and a joyful aura mark this as the true root of what Metheny would later create. The atmospheric, psychedelic, ambient-like sections are not yet found, and the soloing sometimes grows standard and not wholly inspiring. The songs sometimes melt together in my memory, mainly because the atmosphere of each is not vividly different. However, some few really catchy sections do in fact make an impact.

My biggest complaints about this album, however, are the overly joyful colour it is painted in (which only sometimes annoys me), the deficiency of powerful atmosphere, emotional melodies, or a coherent musical storyline (so to speak). However, it is an excellent jazz album, if only a decent prog album, and should be recognized as Pat Metheny's true debut. Consider this a very high three star rating.

Report this review (#146942)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If any progressive rock fan wants to get into jazz, this is the first album that they should hear. This is the album that got me interested in jazz. It truly is a masterpiece. Pat Metheny is one of, if not the most progressive jazz musician. He makes the boundaries between rock and jazz become one at times.

The production on this album is fantastic. Recorded at Talent Studios in Oslo, the production sounds as if it was recorded today. The playing of each member truly stands out and every member is showcased. Being only 24 years old, Pat Metheny showed the music world what he was capable of. This album is utterly fantastic. Perfection.

Report this review (#199244)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars At that time, the flow of music that was the main current might have established the music character as Jazz/Fusion for Jazz/Fusion in the 70's. And, the established music had the time that had been actively done by the exchange of machine parts and the musician.

It is said that this Pat Metheny objectively caught a certain Jazz/Fusion in the 70's of the seed. It might have been one point to the main current that had to be able to be said it was reactionary.

The challenge to the music of him who was born in Missouri state in the United States and the technology that cultivates it might be reflected in the tune and there be a part that cannot be caught as music of him indiscriminately original who is when the listener listens to the music.

Of course, "Bright Size Life" that Pat Metheny had announced in the ECM label in 1975 will have been a content that exactly sent an indeed new wind for the item of Jazz/Fusion. Perfection of tune that exceeds frame of Jazz/Fusion. And, the melody with a transparent feeling. And, the height of the quality of ensemble as Trio. Those elements have been succeeded to "Watercolors" announced from "Bright Size Life" in 1977 as an extension of the methodology.

The technology and knowledge for his performance are the well-known facts. However, the fact that has boldly introduced a new element into the concept of Jazz/Fusion. Those elements might have been in the part and the environment of the music that the character and he of him had cultivated.

The flow of which Pat Metheny debuted from work with Gary Burton in ECM is a well-known fact. However, many and the idea of the work to listen with ECM after he debuts are abundant parts and are established. They were one of the situations that worked naturally as agreeing.

His great-grandfather was an immigrant who had immigrated to Wisconsin state at the 19th end of the century. His blood as a pure Norse had been succeeded by the grandfather. It is said that his grandfather is a trumpeter. Flow and element that Pat Metheny produced this album in Oslo in Norway via ECM. And, his until transfered the register to Geffen Record work might have created music high-quality as indeed agreed with those elements. It is not an exaggeration to say that the element to which the performance a new creation is always brought in to the item of Jazz/Fusion after it debuts and with a deep, transparent feeling is taken might agree with his character and situation.

This "Pat Metheny Group" might be one pronoun for Pat Metheny. And, Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny of the keyboard player who formed the nucleus of the music character of this group formed this group in May of 1977. Two people who had gotten acquainted in the Jazz festival held with Wichita of Kansas state in 1976 thought that it was impressed on a music character each other and was going to share. And, Pat Metheny is Mark Egan of the Bass player who was the colleague at the university. And, drum player's Dan Gottlieb joined and the member of this group was fixed. Part where ensemble as band was established from methodology to listen by "Bright Size Life" and "Watercolors" further. And, the technology and the idea of Pat Metheny. They are satisfactorily demonstrated in the debut album of this group.

A transparent feeling is an overflowing melody of "San Lorenzo". And, a variegated sound is made from Lyle Mays. The sound exactly has a transparent feeling. The performance to make good use of Reverb as one of the elements of the performance of Pat Metheny will be able to be enumerated. The performance might often have the impression with a loose tune oppositely with powerful of Ad-Rib with contrasted part. However, the part where the response and motion cohabits doesn't have the sense of incompatibility as a perfection of the tune. It will give the soundscape further by the performance of this group. The tune gradually receives the top from beautiful piano Solo. This transparent feeling might be their patents. And, the melody with nostalgia continues.

As for "Phase Dance", the rhythm of the samba with the guitar is impressive. And, Solo that there is a transparent feeling in the progress of peculiar Chord is impressive. Each musician makes the wave by making good use of fast and slow. Making Dynamics that does while establishing the atmosphere of the tune might be splendid. The sound of the group that doesn't do as a rhythm of the obstinate samba has succeeded. And, the synthesizer that appears in the part of Coda creates a very progressive sound.

As for "Jaco", the group combines from chord of a gentle guitar. The feature on minor chord the flow that syncopation is made good use of. Solo of Bass has put out the element of Fretless well. Ensemble with the guitar and the drum is also splendid each other.

"Aprilwind" will have working of the intro because of the connection to "April Joy". The guitar with the anacatesthesia continues. The sound in which 12- string guitar is made good use of has a very original part.

As for "April Joy", the line of Bass twines round the arpeggio of the guitar with the anacatesthesia. The tune shifts from the theme that does development repeatedly to solo of the guitar. Solo of the guitar might surely understand the tune. The piano twines and the tune faces quiet development again. The sound of the keyboard that appears during the tune is also progressive. The theme flows slowly and hurtles through space.

"Lone Jack" is a tune that Pat Metheny often performs in live. This tune might be a tune of the representative of Pat Metheny. A progressive element by the sound of the synthesizer and the shift to solo are splendid from legato of cymbals of a fast tempo. The technology of the guitar and the processing performance of the sound to Chord are overwhelming. The group continues the dash feeling in union. And, the tune shifts to piano Solo. How Lyle Mays contributes for this group might be understood. Music offers the shape of complete Jazz/Fusion to the element of a little Latin by their original interpretations.

When interviewing it, Pat Metheny was made remarks, "It was Offramp that the sound of the band established". This group certainly receives a reformative part in "Offramp" and one the top is received in possession "First Circle". And, it might surely be their of this debut albums that form the base as a flow of the group.

Report this review (#251827)
Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars I have a really unusual story behind how I was introduced to Pat Metheny, so sit back and enjoy!

It all began more than a decade ago when one of my uncles, for some strange reason, decided that kids these days need to listen to some real music and so for my 11th(!) birthday I was handed over 3 LP's from his collection! First of all, who does that kind of stuff?!? It's definitely the most awkward present you can give to an 11-year old kid.

The records I was handed included two Pat Metheny albums Pat Metheny Group, Still Life (Talking) and Frank Zappa's Chunga's Revenge, presumably because it was his least favorite of the bunch. Although my family claims that it was then and there that I fell in love with Progressive Rock, I personally would place that occasion a few years later when I was introduced to King Crimson's debut masterpiece. Still I definitely have a soft spot for all of these three albums and I get really nostalgic every time I hear them. Maybe it's something to consider for all of you uncles out there!

You might be surprised but I've never actually bought another Pat Metheny album since then. Well, I did buy the CD re-issues of these two albums but I just haven't worked up the courage to hear anything else just yet. It has to do with the high expectations combined with childhood nostalgia that I have for anything from Pat and his group.

The music style on this band-titled debut album is soft and smooth jazz music that resembles vintage jazz. It might pass for a light Jazz Rock album but I won't be calling the material here Fusion any time soon. I'd say it's highly likable melodic jazz with a nice groove!

Since this was the first of the three so-called "birthday present"-albums that I listened to, the opening San Lorenzo will always have a place in my heart. It's just 10 minutes of highly likable music that almost fits any possible occasion. I'm actually a bit surprised and ashamed that I don't listen to it as much anymore! Jaco is another performance that slides into pure Jazz-territory while still keeping the nice groove, something that Pat Metheny Group do with such perfection.

Aprilwind and April Joy are almost like a brother and a sister where the latter keeps on the groove from the former and then expands it from there into another melodically strong instrumental compositions. While Lone Jack takes things back to rhythm-jazz territory wonderfully closing the album on another strong note.

I'm really not sure how I would feel have I heard this album for the first time today. This is a part of the reason why I just cannot bring myself to hear another Pat Metheny album. Still I would like to believe that I would have liked this music a lot. It wouldn't give me the added nostalgia that I have for this particular release but I just don't see how anyone could dislike such an excellent piece of music. It might not be the most advanced or adventurous Jazz Rock-recording out there but it's definitely one of the most atmospheric and joyful releases out there!

***** star songs: San Lorenzo (10:13)

**** star songs: Phase Dance (8:19) Jaco (5:37) Aprilwind (2:09) April Joy (8:13) Lone Jack (6:43)

Report this review (#276025)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album means a lot to me. For one, This was my introduction to any kind of jazz. It also has served as one of my best "chill" albums.

I first heard of Pat Metheny Group when I was looking through my dad's record collection at home. I must have mentioned this one to him, or him to me. He told me that a roommate of his back in college would play a ton of Metheny. My dad did not like it at first, but eventually loved it and bought it. He suggested I take a listen to it. So I bought the album.

My first couple listens were not very fruitful in the sense that I did not really enjoy it. I had listened to little or no jazz at that point in my life, so it was like a foreign language to me, strange and indecipherable. As I continued to give it time, it grew on me: the fluid guitar, piano, jazzy bass, and perfect drumming all started to make sense. It has since grown into one of my favorite albums. And has opened my eyes to the possibility of exploring jazz and more jazz-influenced rock.

San Lorenzo, the opener, is my favorite track. It is one long journey, from a strong theme, to various guitar sounds and solos, to the strong piano solo. The next track, Phase Dance, is a more energetic number, with faster guitar playing. Jaco has a harder, funkier edge to it, though still firmly rooted in jazz. Aprilwind and April Breeze go together in my mind. Aprilwind is the introduction, a solo guitar piece, slowing building, yet staying tight and calm. It then opens in April Breeze, with an energetic opening section, a quiet, building middle section, which climaxes in an awesome guitar solo at the end. The last number, Lone Jack, is a very fast-paced number. Metheny plays with speed and precision, with the energetic mood only being interrupted by a slower piano solo.

I would strongly suggest anyone to check this album out. It is a masterpiece.

Report this review (#547176)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2011 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
2 stars Well what can I say. Not my thing. This is jazz-fusion all right, but very much on the light side. Nothing adventurous at all. If the Mahavishnu Orchestra is Godzilla, then this is Bambi. Nothing wrong with that if that is what you're looking for but a little tame for my tastes. I am not the biggest of Pat Metheny fans but I have heard albums that I like a lot better than this one. If you are into smooth jazz then this may be the thing for you. I can hear that the musicians are talented and all but it's just that I'm not that much into the style. Described as jazz meets Americana but i'm not feeling it. Only the last track saves this from being a one star album for me.
Report this review (#1073590)
Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars While Pat Metheny has put out so many albums, and so much great quality music, this first Pat Metheny Group (PMG) album remains for me a pinnacle (or one of many pinnacles). It is so musical, and contains many of PM's most requested and iconic compositions. Even after probably 1000 listens, I still get goose pimples when I hear the opening (and closing) lines of "San Lorenzo". This album is more jazz than fusion, and is less progressive than, say, 'Still Life Talking' (I call PMG's music progressive jazz rather than jazz-rock fusion, as most of their work contains very little rock. But much/some of it is highly progressive). Those who do not like jazz for being jazz (as opposed to liking fusion) will not appreciate this album. But I think for anyone who likes jazz, or progressive music in general, this is an absolutely essential musical masterpiece. Phase Dance set the stage for what would become a particular style of music that PMG cornered (whenever I picture Pat Metheny playing with his ubiquitous striped shirts, it is this song that first comes to mind), and he still plays this song at virtually every gig. Jaco is PM's tribute to the legendary Jaco Pastorious, who played with PM early on, and whose if often seen as creating a new style of jazz (and jazz-fusion) bass playing. The Aprils are lovely pieces (although you have to love jazz), and Lone Jack is exceptional and will/could appeal to progressive music lovers. The musicianship on this album is first rate, and while PM absolutely shines, so does Lyle Mays's piano work. Pat Metheny has put a huge diversity of music - he is one of this century's true originals. This album shines still as one of highlights of his long career. I give it 9.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale.
Report this review (#1696850)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Floating jazz album with traditional rock instruments. The sound is lyrical and maybe influenced also by country and folk. Keys are very easy going like in "San Lorenzo" where keyboards dominate, be it piano or synths in the background. "Phase dance" has a delicate jazz guitar which is fluid and accessible, miles different from other renowned jazz fusion guitars. Despite having a few chords and simple motive, rhythm and main section always have something to alternate.

"Jaco" veers towards jazz-rock with funk elements, having such name also putting bass guitar in the spotlight. Drumming is delicate with many fill-ins. "April joy" is an amazing upbeat number in the beginning which calms down later on. "Lone Jack" is a tour-de-force for all players. Based on a Latin beat, the guitar art is at the utmost level. Intensive drumming and bass will awake all listeners.

A very good fusion album.

Report this review (#2434197)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2020 | Review Permalink

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