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Pat Metheny - As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (with Lyle Mays) CD (album) cover

AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS (WITH LYLE MAYS)

Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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5 stars The first long track (20 ') is splendid. A long voyage in an innovating sound world with strongs moments,(10" of this track made the Christian Dior' pub Fahrenheit ) A mixt of jazz and progressive electronic with a rytmic a la Klaus Schutlze. Close your eyes, listen and you will dream. The second track is more jazzy. The third is a nice balad with acoustic guitar and piano. It's for you, the fourth track, is also very pleasant with a sweet guitar sound never heard.

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Send comments to motoprog (BETA) | Report this review (#75108)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pat Metheny produces a very unique album here: the side 1 contains an epic jazz ambient New Age track: Lyle Mays plays the modern keyboards, rather floating, and Metheny plays miscellaneous string instruments; this eponymous track slowly starts with melodic & echoed exotic string instruments, and then Nana Vasconcelos' rhythmic & primitive percussions appear, while Lyle Mays plays some slightly obscure keyboards textures, followed by a very good organ bit; the last part consists in a densely floating atmosphere, increasing in intensity with a slow rhythm, leading to delightful floating & saturated streams of modern keyboards, into which are incorporated memorable young kids voices: A GREAT MOMENT WITH LYLE MAYS!!

The side 2 is completely different: it starts with "Ozark", a dynamic track, full of lively & fast jazzy piano and acoustic guitars. The next track, "September 15th", starts with a beautiful combination of tender & melodic acoustic guitars and modern floating keyboards, slightly reminding Genesis' "Blood on the rooftops"; the second part is just simply graceful: a moving & expressive piano part accompanied with delicate acoustic guitars: BEAUTIFUL! "It's for you" is very catchy and rhythmic: indeed it has beautiful melodic keyboards and electric guitars successively played through a very rhythmic combination of acoustic guitars and synthesizer emulating a powerful and very bottom bass. The last track "Estupenda graça" is just a graceful mix of male chant, melodic piano, female whispers and delicate percussion imitating some quiet birds.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#75135)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is perhaps the most "prog oriented" album by Pat Metheny which I have heard yet. The long title track has lots of synthesizers, calm atmospheres, sound effects and beautiful both chords and melodies. The best song of this album in my opinion is "September Fifteenth", which is the day when Bill Evans died, and to whom this song is dedicated to. Realizing this made the song more touching to me, as I liked Bill's classical influenced jazz music lots. Lyle does some fine quotations of his playing style on piano, and Pat's acoustic guitar sounds just so fine. Actually, I think it sounds much better than most of his synth-oriented stuff, I think it's a shame he doesn't do more acoustic material! I didn't like the other songs that much, but they are fine still. "Ozark" and "It's for You" are happy acoustic tunes, and short "Estupenda Graça" is a small emotional moment accompanied with singing. This is an album worth of checking out, I guess its value depends much on the tastes of the listener.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#78687)
Posted Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars You know those times when you get a yen to hear something that's kinda cool jazz fusion but not complex and harsh like Mahavishnu Orchestra or hot and funky like Return to Forever? You want synthesizers and guitars but you don't want to be lulled to sleep? Or you need music that satisfies the progger in you yet won't result in having your "you know I don't like progressive stuff" girlfriend/wife nagging you to turn it off? Well, friend, I think this album is for you. It's the kind of record that even your know-it- all buddies probably haven't heard and will have them asking "what's this we're listening to, anyway?"

The first instrumental, "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls," is over twenty minutes of excellent musical exploration. It really doesn't remind me of anything else in this genre. It starts off with what I can only describe as the far away drone of a crowd at an outdoor event hurriedly seeking shelter from a fast-moving thunderstorm. It's somewhat esoteric, for sure, but it gives the piece an exciting aura of mystery. After that drifts away you are treated to segments of chiming keyboards, Nana Vasconcelos' rhythmic percussion dancing over spacey atmospheres, a Pink Floyd-ish organ sequence, some gorgeous symphonic chord building (that borrows graciously from Aaron Copland), layer upon layer of Lyle Mays' sensuous synthesizers and a fade out where the laughter of children can be heard in the distance. It is nothing if not unique and very entertaining to say the least.

"Ozark" is the best and most original track here. It features a speedy, rolling piano over Pat Metheny's crisp acoustic guitar strumming augmented by Mays' angelic autoharp. The regal melody is unforgettable and Lyle steals the show with his solo piano work in the middle of the song. His stellar performance is reminiscent of Keith Emerson's ethereal, inspired stylings on the first ELP album. Next is "September Fifteenth (dedicated to Bill Evans)" and this is one resplendent tune. Pat's delicate acoustic guitar playing is backed by soothing orchestral keyboard effects and in the beginning they utilize a classical structure before evolving into a jazzier feel. Mays' piano work in particular is exquisite.

"It's For You" follows with a joyful synthesizer melody performed over full, folk-like strums on the acoustic. They segue into flute sounds with wordless vocal lines from Nana before Metheny finally takes a long, fluid ride on electric guitar. A Brazilian samba rhythm takes over, giving the proceedings a very festive air. "Estupenda Graca" is the closer; an almost hymn-like vocal melody sung over basic piano and acoustic guitar. It is distinguished by what sounds like tropical bird clicks and chatterings as if the tune was recorded in a rain forest. Short but sweet.

While Pat's name gets equal billing on this album, let there be no doubt that this is the supremely talented Lyle Mays' showcase. He is a gifted keyboard musician/composer and he's brilliant throughout this project. Had this record come out a few years earlier when jazz rock/fusion was still in high demand it might have garnered the attention it deserved but, unfortunately, in 1980 punk, new wave and glitter bands were all the rage and intricate, thought-provoking albums like this one couldn't barter for ad space in Rolling Stone. However, for all the reasons I've listed and more, it's a quality piece of aural art that deserves a niche in your collection. 4.3 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#124173)
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album was a huge revelation to me. My first experience with Pat was with his debut "Bright Size Life" which did little for me, so I went into this one with no expectations whatsoever. Lyle Mays who plays a variety of keyboards is his partner here while Nana Vasconcelos guests on percussion, drums, vocals and berimbau. She really adds a lot to this recording. It was recorded in Oslo, Norway in September of 1980. The music is tasteful, professional, atmospheric and thought provoking. It's just a pleasure to sit back and really listen to this album.

The title track is almost 21 minutes long and my favourite. This is the kind of song that makes me smile, for me it's like going on a relaxing drive on a sunny day. It's not about getting to a destination, it's about enjoying the drive, the sunshine and the scenery. This song is all about experiencing the sounds and mood that this trio create. It starts off with faint sounds of people's voices in the background. Piano comes in as all these sounds build. A change after 2 1/2 minutes as guitar, keys, bass and berimbau take over. Percussion before 6 1/2 minutes as the sound changes. It's kind of spacey before 8 minutes with percussion. Incredible sound here. Organ 11 1/2 minutes in with bass a minute later. The sound kicks in before 13 minutes. Some autoharp before spacey synths and some great atmosphere arrives 14 1/2 minutes in. A voice rhymes off some random numbers, then at 16 minutes we can hear voices in the background. Organ comes in late.This is a song that has to be experienced.

"Ozark" is uptempo with piano leading the way. It's ok. "September Fifteenth (Dedicated To Bill Evans)" is of course dedicated to Bill Evans who passed away either just before this recording or during it. Bill was perhaps best known for being part of Miles Davis sextet, joining in 1958. So he played on "Kind Of Blue". The synths are slow moving as guitar is picked slowly in this sad intro. Things are brighter 2 minutes in. I really like this section a lot as the piano joins the acoustic guitar the rest of the way. They sound so good together. "It's For You" opens with strummed guitar, then synths followed by bass. Nice sound. The guitar fades to the background at 1 1/2 minutes. The vocal melodies before 3 minutes are so moving. Electric guitar and bass take over 4 1/2 minutes in. This is great. "Estupenda Graca" means "Stupendous Grace" in Portuguese. This is truly an emotional track as piano and vocal melodies lead the way. You can hear Nana sigh many times. Stupendous grace indeed. Thankyou.

The ECM label is all about releasing music that is all about class and beauty. This is no exception.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#204403)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars As Falls Prog, Pat Metheny Rises

Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays back in the late 70's and through the 80's managed to achieve various jazz fusion masterpieces with their own original, American sound which sounded nothing alike to previous Jazz Rock giants, Weather Report, Mahavishnu and Return to Forever; As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls was one of those various masterpieces.

The album starts off with the tour-de-force that the title track is, being over 20 minutes of pure bliss. This is not jazz fusion or any form of jazz, though, it's more of an ambient epic with mellow and dark themes that flow flawlessly together creating a thrilling journey in which Lyle is the main performer playing some delicate and intriguing keyboards that as a whole create a chilling aura. Having said that this is not jazz fusion, you must not expect Metheny's traditional synth guitar; Metheny mainly plays gentle bass and guitar bits on top of Lyle's mesmerizing soundscapes. To add a bit of bite to the music, Nana Vasconcelos is here adding the last ingredient to the music with his splendid percussion.

The following track, Ozark, is in the style of Pat Metheny's Group. You've got the usual up-lifting mood with Lyle's cheering piano and Pat's constant acoustic guitar. A lovely tune to play in a sunny day.

September Fifteenth is a sad, though beautiful tune that is dedicated to Bill Evans, the marvellous jazz pianist who passed away on September 15th 1980, after a long struggle with drugs. Pat and Lyle really play with their hearts on this tune.

It's For You is a tad bit melancholic with some very mellow passages in which Nana uses his voice as an instrument of melancholy. Metheny is heard with his 12-string guitar and his unique electric guitar delivering a delightful solo which finalizes the tune greatly.

The album ends with Estupenda Graça(Stupendous Grace), a short and delicate tune with Nana being the one that leads the tune with his voice. This track finishes the album indeed with ''stupendous grace''.

In the end, I wouldn't consider As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls a jazz fusion masterpiece, so jazz fusion/rock fans that want to check out Pat Metheny, they better start with American Garage and the debut of the Pat Metheny Group. However anyone who is keen on Metheny's and Lyle's incredible songwriting abilities this album should be checked out. Also fans of Prog Electronic and Ambient music should definitely check this out, since they would surely find themselves a highly original chilling masterpiece.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#265735)
Posted Friday, February 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars If you have heard less than a smattering of Pat Metheny's colossal body of work and are wondering where to turn for an introduction, perhaps all you need to know is that one "wise" critic once complained that Metheny was too close to progressive territory on this one. It was already my favourite Pat Metheny album of the 4 I've heard, but that cinched it.

When talking progressive, it's really about the 20 minute title cut that mixes ambient, electronic, trance, hushed vocals, and a chilling primary melody that seems to blend the ancient and the modern, or at least as modern as the American midwest can be. It's like nothing else I've heard from Metheny, and easily my choice for his pinnacle. I suspect the participation of Naná Vasconcelos on percussion and in the creative process gave the artist a welcome boost.

The rest of the disk is of equally high quality if less mystique. "Ozark" is a jaunty piano and acoustic guitar piece that sounds surprisingly authentic. The musicians then take it down a few notches for the lovely "September 15th", still by and large a mix of Mays' piano and Metheny's acoustic guitar. You have to be in a mellow mood for this one. "It's For You" is a happier piece with more fluttering synths and chants over 12 string. In the somewhat faster latter half, Metheny's lead guitar and effusive bass replace the keyboards as the central figure. The album closes with chants to the tune of "Amazing Grace", somehow fitting in light of the revelation that is AFWSFWF.

"As Falls Wichita" is an overall strong album but, for listeners on this site after some adventurous and eclectic music, it is chiefly the title cut that will tell you that you aren't in Kansas anymore, and that can only be a good thing.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#277046)
Posted Friday, April 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! What a ride is the song "As Falls..." (11/10) Truly one of the great prog epics of all-time. Nana Vasconçuelos, Lyle and Pat take you on a journey into the planetary ethernet before the WWW was even conceived! Then there is Side 2! The joyful "Ozark" (9/10), emotional and beautiful "September Fifteenth" (10/10), and the also-so-joyful "It's for You" (New Chautauqua, Pt. 2) (10/10). I was and still am so blown away by this album. The shock and awe is as powerful as it was the first time I heard it in 1981. A masterpiece of progressive music by one of the most creative, eclectic and prolific music artists of this or any generation.

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Send comments to BrufordFreak (BETA) | Report this review (#459532)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars I'm not much a Pat Metheny fan. I have a couple of his recordings, heard most of them up through the mid 90s, and even saw him in concert a couple of times. And this is still the only album of his I like enough to listen to. And I think it's because he shared the compositional duties with his keyboardist, Lyle Mays.

All of side one of the LP is a single track, the title track to be exact, and it's a moody, spacy piece, that consists of Metheny and Mays trading the lead in an almost-but-not-quite new age piece. They play open, airy solos on their instruments over a bacdrop of distant voices, and Nana Vasconcelos' subtle percussion.

The second side is closer to the more well known Metheny sound. The songs are not bad, but it's not a style that draws me in.

4.5 stars for side one, 2.75 stars for side two= 3.63 stars.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#566393)
Posted Friday, November 11, 2011 | Review Permalink

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