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Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Pat Metheny Pat Metheny Group: Still Life (Talking) album cover
3.98 | 119 ratings | 8 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Minuano (Six Eight) (9:27)
2. So May It Secretly Begin (6:26)
3. Last Train Home (5:41)
4. (It's Just) Talk (6:17)
5. Third Wind (8:37)
6. Distance (2:45)
7. In Her Family (3:18)

Total Time: 42:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Pat Metheny / acoustic & electric guitars, guitar synth, co-arranger & co-producer
- Lyle Mays / piano, keyboards, co-arranger & co-producer
- Steve Rodby / acoustic & electric bass
- Paul Wertico / drums
- Armando Maršal / percussion, backing vocals
- David Blamires / vocals
- Mark Ledford / vocals

Releases information

Artwork: M & Co

LP Geffen Records ‎- GHS 24145 (1987, US)

CD Geffen Records ‎- 9 24145-2 (1987, US)
CD Nonesuch ‎- 7559-79948-2 (2006, Europe) Remastered by Ted Jensen

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy PAT METHENY Pat Metheny Group: Still Life (Talking) Music

PAT METHENY Pat Metheny Group: Still Life (Talking) ratings distribution

(119 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PAT METHENY Pat Metheny Group: Still Life (Talking) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pat Metheny here made a VERY refined sound recording: the often very ethereal atmosphere is palpable, although the tracks are quite loaded. The restless, fast and delicate cymbals patterns are delightful. There are many African rhythms & melodies, especially on the "Third wind" track. Metheny's electric guitars are also very refined, fast & melodic. Lyle Mays' keyboards are more atmospheric and more in the background than usual. His rhythmic piano is complex, refined and fast, as always; the background floating keyboards sound like some light orchestral arrangements, and some other more melodic ones sound like graceful flutes, like on "So May It Secretly Begin". Mark Ledford's omnipresent typical chant is perfectly synchronized with Metheny's clean, fast and brief electric guitar notes, like on "Minuano", "Third wind" and "Talk": this is the sound trademark of Pat Metheny. The excellent electric sitar on "Last Train Home" is another element that makes Pat Metheny's stuff easily recognizable. The "Distance" and "In Her Family" tracks are inseparable: the first one rather sounds dramatic & perturbed: it would be perfect for a soundtrack movie, as reveal the Lyle's awkward floating keyboards. "In her family" is made of perfectly synchronized delicate piano and acoustic guitars: it is once magnificently intensified by Lyle's majestic piano & floating streams of keyboards: just hear the progression involved! All the tracks are excellent, and this album is definitely among his best ones.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The time that shifts from the ECM label to the Geffen label for the history of the music of Pat Metheny might be able to be enumerated as time of an important revolution. The existence of PMG that he was run side by side with the work of Solo and done might be another face of him.

There were exactly various ideas in "First Circle" in 1984 that had been announced by ECM. Many of tune that exceeds frame of Jazz/Fusion and is done. Element of country that becomes base based on environment where he in addition to element of Jazz that he originally has grew up. Or, the theme at which PMG aims. And, a progressive element a few in addition to the composition of a grand tune. And, the element of the music seen in the southern hemisphere gradually taken from the album. It is likely already to have experimented on these elements on business with ECM.

His thought that he had transfered the register from ECM to Geffen was true with indeed interesting deep. There might have been a lot of ideas as PMG that had to be done. However, "Song X" that had become the first work as Geffen label in 1985 when the work at this time of him was considered will have been an important work for him. And, the flow might have been a natural act at the same time as his idea's at this time naturally appearing.

Competing with Ornette Coleman where it was existence of the yearning for Pat Metheny might have been also natural as the act. The same thing will be able to be said to it for the content and the passage of the work. However, the idea as the work of PMG. Or, it flows concerning transfering the register label. Or, the idea at which PMG at that time aimed appears remarkably indeed in the work at this time.

Flow that multiuses part of chorus in addition to composition of grand tune had already been done by "First Circle". Or, the element of the tune with one microcosm that stretches from the music done with ECM to the outside. The performance that catches a chorus and an acoustic part though Jazz/Fusion is assumed to be a base might succeed. A grand composition of "Minuano" might surely draw the flow of "First Circle". Or, the soundscape of "Talk" gives the impression to which the width of PMG has been surely expanded. The idea where PMG originally has "Third Wind" is developed as a group. The chorus's introduction has succeeded. These elements might surely have been established as a route of PMG.

"Song X" would have been a natural act if it was thought that it had contrasted element for its.. Pat Metheny. this albumThe act of telling impression and warmth to the listener might have been a theme that had to do for PMG at this time.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the second of the two Pat Metheny Group records that I received on my 11th birthday. The ordeal I'm referring to was described in my review of Pat Metheny Group's debut album that I suggest you read up on before taking on Still Life (Talking).

Just like the debut album this is another set of soft and smooth jazz music performances but as the album cover suggests there is a slightly new twist to it all. I'm talking about the Indian chant-styled vocals and although, after reading a few of the other reviews, it seems that the style was already introduced on the group's 1984 release First Circle I've never heard that album so I just have to take their word for it.

Minuano (Six Eight) kicks-off the album with an unexpected almost Supper's Ready-like acoustic intro but the tone shifts with the introduction of chanting vocals and the piece goes into the more familiar light Jazz Rock style that's expected from Pat Metheny Group. I really like how the tension slowly builds up until it converts into the jazz-sounding guitar performance from Pat Metheny.

So May It Secretly Begin is more of a traditional Jazz Rock composition with some really gorgeous melodies. Still it is Last Train Home that has always grabbed my attention and gave me strong feelings of nostalgia every time I've listened to it over the years. The whole piece makes me think of a long journey by train and I always think of this composition when I return from a trip. Lately my transport of choice has been the plane but even then, every time the plane lands, I hear this distinct composition in my head as if it says welcome home! The instrumentation arrangement features a train-sounding drumbeat with smooth and almost minimalistic guitar interplay.

After another two up-beat instrumentals the album finally gives us two mellower moments right towards the end. Distance is an almost ambient like compositions that serves as an introduction to In Her Family. This is another semi-nostalgic performance that brings on some really fond memories. It ends on a strong almost epic melodic climax and then fades away towards the end. The whole performance sounds almost like a Tony Banks composition which makes it my second reference to Genesis in this review!

Just like the Pat Metheny Group debut album, I'm really not sure how I would feel have I heard this release for the first time today. There's just so much nostalgia embedded into these compositions for me that I honestly can't be critical about it all. As I said previously, it might not be one of the most advanced or adventurous Jazz Rock-recordings but it's definitely has its heart in the right place which makes it into one of the most atmospheric and joyful releases out there!

***** star songs: Last Train Home (5:41)

**** star songs: Minuano (Six Eight) (9:27) So May It Secretly Begin (6:26) (It's Just) Talk (6:17) Third Wind (8:37) Distance (2:45) In Her Family (3:18)

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars This slick, polished, and refined record by Metheny features outstanding playing and performances, but comes with a sterile vibe whose appeal will largely depend on the personal taste of the listener. At it's best, Still Life is beautifully conceived and artful... at it's worst, it's pure syrupy-sludge dredged from the bucket of smooth jazz radio airways.

"Minuano" opens the album with a mellow, nuanced feel, with delicate textures and melodies building to a trademark Metheny guitar solo. His playing is dexterous, canny, and mostly vacuous due to a heavily processed sound. His gentle tone is easy to listen to, but difficult to latch on to because the production doesn't allow space for anything especailly engaging.

The song builds to a terrific high, giving way to a fast moving rhythmic break. I performed this song in high school jazz band, and seeing it on Still Life's track listing was a big reason I picked up this album, but I must say that the big band arrangement of this song is superior; however, the strength of the songwriting, playing, and feel to Metheny's version is still great, and the variety of tempo, dynamics, and instrumental work makes this a stand out track.

"So May It Secretly Begin" and "Third Wind" keep up this high standard of quality, delivering ambitious structure and playing. The other tracks are underwhelming, being either too airy and incomplete (in the case of the two closing tunes), or too insipid to mean much at all (like "It's Just Talk", whose Caribbean feel sounds like something from a recent Super Mario game). Still Life often uses a latin feel, but in sort of a "Sandals Tourist Resort" kind of way; I can't escape the notion that Metheny is playing it incredibly safe-- and that the energy, tone and production of this album plays very much to a white suburban audience.

Most of Still Life flits along without drawing one's attention, making it acceptable background music and not much else. Metheny's playing is, in my opinion, largely overrated, and probably only for fans comfortable with true jazz (rather than PA's fusion genre).

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An album filled with some of the most gorgeous, danceable, sing/hummable instrumental jazz fusion songs EVER! I remember playing this tape every time I got in the car for a long drive (which was quite often in my late 20s) and just CRANKING everysong--singing the melodies at the top of my lungs throughout each and every song--especially when the vocalists (Armando Maršal, Mark Ledford, and David Blamires) chimed in. And then I got to see them live in concert at Meadowbrook on this tour. As I've told many people over the years, I never had so much fun dancing in my seat, playing my legs for drums, and singing the wordless vocals at the top of my lungs from row 26 at any concert in my life. And I would argue that the lineup I saw performing that night could stand up shoulder to shoulder with any instrumental ensemble I've ever seen--and that includes Yes, Crimson, McLaughlin, and Di Meola with Jan Hammer.

Five star songs: the amazing epic, 1. "Minua˝o (in Six Eight) (9:28) (20/20); 2. "So It May Secretly Begin" (6:25) (9.5/10); "It's Just Talk" (6:17) (9.5/10), the wild and rollicking Brazilian rompus, 4. "Third Wind" (8:37) (20/20); the hypnotic 3. "Last Train Home (5:41) (8.5/10); "the atmospheric space soundtrack, 6. "DIstance" (2:45) (4.25/5), and; the stunningly gorgeous finale, "In Her Family (3:17) (10/10), which became anthemic to me as it inspired a poem that I wrote to become its lyric.

A true masterpiece of jazz/world fusion from a collection of some of the finest musicians to ever grace the analog, digital, or acoustic airwaves. Bassist Steve Rodby and drummer Paul Wertico are gods!

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album probably best describes the sound of the Pat Metheny Group, and many PM fans would say it is his best ever (it is not my very favourite, but close). While categorized as 'jazz-rock fusion' here in PA, I would actually characterize the PMG sound as "progressive jazz", as there is not muc ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696848) | Posted by Walkscore | Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sure, Latin jazz had been around for ages when the Pat Metheny Group released Still Life (Talking) in 1987. However, Latin jazz never sounded so modern and yet so primitive at the same time. This unique recording is one of the finest in the PMG catalog, and it makes the listener take notice of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#134034) | Posted by jimidom | Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#86718) | Posted by Flemdido | Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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