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Pat Metheny - Secret Story CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.22 | 134 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars SECRET STORY has been promoted in some quarters as Pat Metheny's "World Music album", but that seems way off the mark since it contains few 'foreign' sounds (at least from from Pat's point of view), apart from an amazing Cambodian contribution to the shortish opening number.

Most of the album feels like a travelogue, though - or rather: like film music accompanying a glossy travelogue; a feeling that is enhanced by Jeremy Lubbock's soothing orchestral arrangements. Almost all of Metheny's album sleeves evoke the theme of travel (and of course the man once released a live album entitled TRAVELS), so as soon as you spot this album's song titles ('Cathedral in a suitcase', 'See the World' etc.) you get the idea that Metheny will be confronting you with a musical impression of things he may have observed from a bus or an airplane window.

A few of the tunes included are little more than orchestra-dominated movie-soundtrack fluff. Others are based on rather simplistic pop tunes (e.g. 'Sunlight', 'Rain River' and 'See the World') but as soon as Metheny embarks on one of his inimitable solos (on this album they're usually backed by strings) all is forgiven - the listener sits back, closes his eyes and simply enjoys.

The album's final three or four tracks have a distinctly mournful quality. Although I'm not aware of the biographical details behind them, the song titles ('The truth will always be', 'Tell her you saw me' and 'Not to be forgotten (our final hour)') point in the direction of love lost. 'The truth will always be' starts quietly, like a funeral march, but features a passionate guitar synth solo so exuberant you just HAVE to call this prog (not jazz): it's closer to Yes' "And you and I" than to anything by Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk. By golly, how I wish Steve Howe still had the inspiration (as well as the good taste and the money) to do something similar!

Although grandiloquent at times, SECRET STORY must be considered one of Pat's most enjoyable albums from the 1980s and 1990s. It also contains (far too brief) cameos by Toots Thielemans, the world's greatest harmonica player, and by the Japanese pop singer/jazz pianist Akiko Yano (former wife of Ryuichi Sakamoto).

fuxi | 4/5 |


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