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Pat Metheny - Pat Metheny Group CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.09 | 127 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

fuxi | 4/5 |


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