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Pat Metheny - Pat Metheny Unity Group: Kin (↔) CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.81 | 65 ratings

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4 stars Comparing the number of ratings and reviews of Pat Metheny's albums to the number for many other contemporary artists, it seems that Pat's work could be getting overlooked by some who would really appreciate it. This is the most recent album released by Pat. For this album, Pat took the 'Unity Band' (Chris Potter on sax, Ben Williams on bass, Antonio Sanchez on drums), and added one new member (Giulio Carmassi on trumpet, synths, and other instruments) to make the 'Unity Group'. Although this could be looked at as a follow-up to the Unity Band album, in many ways the music is very different. While Unity Band is mostly mellow jazz played as jazz, 'Kin' is very dynamic and complex, much closer to his albums with the Pat Metheny Group (like his excellent 'This Way Up' album). For this band, Pat mixes some of his orchestrionics into the band (Carmassi controls those during the live show - I have seen his Unity Group live twice now - it is amazing to see xylophones, marimbas, and glass jugs suddenly come to life and play themselves!). Also, while Unity Band has mostly shorter pieces, this album has a number of extended compositions. The longest is the 15-minute opener "On Day One", which I think is one of the highlights of the album. The second piece ("Rise Up") is 10 minutes, and likely also to appeal to those who like more complex music. Both the fourth track ("Sign of the Season") and title track ("Kin") are roughly 11 minutes long, start very quiet and build up to a progressive jazz climax with exceptionally difficult fast drumming, similar to parts of This Way Up. The title track has some fantastic quasi-drum-soloing in the last minute or so (anyone who has not heard/seen Antonio Sanchez drum has not yet lived). The other tracks include either nice quiet acoustic-guitar-based short pieces, or faster sax-and-guitar jazz pieces, but otherwise do not stand out. One thing - I am a big Pat Metheny fan and love even most of his slow jazz, but have to admit that I don't like one of the tracks on this album (track 6: "Born", which I find to too slow, simple, and smalzy, with overly-simple drumming - I wish this had been replaced or plastered with another Sanchez drum solo!). But apart from that one tune, everything else on this is great, and the longer epic-like compositions are likely to appeal to anyone who likes the more progressive side of Pat. I give this 8.4 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, and thus 4 PA stars (would be 8.7 without the weaker tracks, which would have improved the flow).
Walkscore | 4/5 |


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