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Pat Metheny - Metheny - Mehldau: Quartet CD (album) cover


Pat Metheny


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.45 | 28 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Quartet' - Metheny/Mehldau (6/10)

Pat Metheny is an artist I will always have great respect for. On top of being a fantastic guitarist and jazz soloist, the man can also write music and choose the best musicians for the job like there's no tomorrow. With that said, everything I have listened to by the man has falln into the category of either being brilliant to my ears, or fairly tedious and harmless smooth jazz. In the case of Pat Metheny's collaboration here with pianist Brad Mehldau, the musicians expertly craft a very smooth and relaxed feeling with the music, but it doesn't stop 'Quartet' from getting fairly boring.

Listening to 'Quartet', there's a world of difference when compared to an album like 'The Way Up', which was my first exposure in earnest to the work of this man. Being introduced to Metheny through a carefully constructed and dynamic song suite, the smooth jazz on 'Quartet' largely pales in comparison. If it weren't for the fairly laid back and restraint to the jam, these pieces could almost sound as if they were improvised; no idea is developed on for too long before listlessly floating onto another. Much of the album is led by the soloing of Metheny or Mehldau, and although there's no shortage of smooth and solid playing to go around, it rarely feels as if the solos amount to anything memorable on their own.

It is indeed the musicianship that makes 'Quartet' a worthy venture for the jazz fan. Every musician here puts a certain degree of subtlety and dynamic into their playing, which makes the album a piece of work that does grow in appreciation with familiarity, despite the somewhat forgettable compositions that drive the instruments. Of special note is percussionist Jeff Ballard, who I noticed almost right off the first song 'A Night Away' as putting a really nice flow of ideas into his work. The production of the album is quite solid, although the bass here feels sorely underrepresented in the mix, never getting the attention of any other instrument.

The bottom line is that 'Quartet' is an album of background music, howeever well executed the formula may be by these musicians. A good jazz album by all regards, but some more hooks and emotional dynamic would have made this worth alot more than merely being a soundtrack to a coffee house.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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