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Pat Metheny - Travels (Pat Metheny Group) CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.73 | 52 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars In 1982, just before his contract with the ECM record label expired, Pat Metheny was given the full "double live album treatment" and surprised friend and foe with TRAVELS, which nicely represented his band's live show at the time. Back in those days, Pat scrupulously avoided anything that smelled like rock music and mostly limited himself to playing jazz guitar, but there are several extended compositions on the album ('Phase Dance' and 'San Lorenzo', for example) which are suffused with a truly symphonic grandeur. In contrast to some of Metheny's more recent experiments (such as THE WAY UP from 2005) such breezy pieces actually boast memorable (and indeed hummable!) melodies. As usual, Pat gets to pour his heart out in his extended solos, but his melodies also feature highly romantic piano and synthesizer workouts by Lyle Mays.

TRAVELS is full of delightful moments. Although percussionist Nana Vasconcelos provides a few wordless vocals, they are relatively subdued and a far cry from the soft-rock horrors that would blight Metheny's albums when he moved to the Geffen label. The most experimental composition on TRAVELS is 'As Falls Wichita, so Falls Wichita Falls', highly dramatic and close in spirit to certain real or imagined soundtracks, such as WHITE ROCK or MUSIC FOR FILMS.

Oh yes! There's also one piece included here which features a steady rock beat: the opening number, one of Metheny's perennial favourites. It concludes on a wonderfully ecstatic solo performed on Pat's trumpet-like guitar synthesizer.

So there you are: all the best moments from the first decade of Metheny's band in a single two-disc set. You couldn't get more "classic" than that.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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