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Pat Metheny - Secret Story CD (album) cover

SECRET STORY

Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars Excellent mix of talents. Philarmonical orchestra shows a great linked inchained with Metheny group`s musicians. Really this album is a jewel, beautiful journey through so many landscapes, images and pure sounds together a chemical ilussion that is complexely and seductive to feel the most secret sensations about life made by Metheny...a secret story.
Report this review (#85594)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The masterpiece album Secret story is an extremely well made classical & modern urban soft jazz album with progressive & even acoustic New Age elements. The album is long: more than 70 minutes of delightful music. Curiously, Lyle Mays is rarely present on the songs. Nevertheless, Metheny made a very good job!! The keyboards, the percussions and the guitars are really perfect! You have to listen it with HI-FI product, if you do not want to conclude it's a supermarket music!! The piece "Antonia" is noticeable with is wonderful vibrant rhythmic accordion! The gentle finesse involved is palpable, and the omnipresent, delicate & slow orchestration involved gives this album something very relaxing, noble, addictive and accessible! When I listen to this album using a state-of-the- art sound system, I really have a feeling of GRANDEUR!

EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!!!!

Report this review (#88090)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I spent my whole adult life listening to music of Genesis,Pink Floyd,Moody Blues,Anthony Philips,and alike.I am aged 49 years by now,and never thought that I would ever come across any new music that can break my addiction to those music makers,but that was only before i happened to give "Offramp" a chance.I had a grieving and tragic loss of my little nephew,and after his burial,I had a very hard time coping with life,but "The Bat" of that album got me soaring into what I felt like the (tranquile life after death),I had visions of long lost heartmates thru listening to that great one.This got me indulged into PMG's works.Right now I am haunted by "Secret Story",a few days before I had been listening for a whole year to only one album;" letter from Home".What does Pat and his great musicians want to say?Their music needs no lyrics,it talks,it takes me to worlds that I never thought are available in our lifetime period.I believe that classical music have been said and done,no way that we can add to it,but Pat Metheny Group is there for it,he can impact us with a greater effect.I also am very glad to share this vast and increasing community,of people who,like my case,are very grateful to PMG for the great times that they afford to us,times of joy,mystique,sufism,deep insights into matters like death and the ultimate truth of why we live and why are we destined to die eventually,and finally,times to escape the rough trails of everyday's life like depression and necessities of life that are most of the times very hard to get.Remember that Pat has got an elder brother,Mike,a great Flugelhorn player,check his works too,I admired him at first time.One final note; listen to any of these album while you are cruising along a highway,and feel your insides flow out at the highest pitch,rejoicing,flying,shedding real teardrops for whatever is agitating your soul,and live your life to the hilt before death grasps you away.
Report this review (#92054)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
fuxi
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).

Report this review (#133390)
Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Riddled with ethnic, world, and eastern flavours, Secret Story is one of Pat Metheny's most diverse and varied albums. Ranging from classical pieces complemented by Metheny's majestic guitar work, to the basic "coffee house/lounge jazz", with only the dominance of the cosmic piano lacking (though its presence is still key), this is a very unique output. This is not Metheny's first time incorporating foreign sounds, instruments, arrangements, and/or compositional approaches into his music, but it is the first time that the ethnic spice has remained switched on throughout the entire album - and never has been so strongly switched on.

Crossing his signature jazz compositions and familiar guitar voices with a new, more emotional touch, this album is the first of Metheny's (including the revered Offramp) to make a special bond with the listener. During this album, and ever afterward, Metheny has mastered the art of creating music that means something, that moves and lingers with the listener. The orchestral touch helps acquire this level of sophistication, but in no way is it restricted to that side of the music. Rain River, for example, is a track that demonstrates Metheny's ability of soloing, and in doing so, creating a beautiful and captivating atmosphere. For people unfamiliar with much jazz, this may take many listens to fully understand and absorb, and may not be the best Metheny album to begin with. The catchy side to the album is restricted to Facing West, and the rest is not at all so. It is memorable, clinging, and magical - but not catchy.

Always and Forever is the first sign of a certain melancholic edge, and the songs slowly grow softer; more serene. There are a few detours on this road to depression, as the two proceeding songs return to a mildly upbeat feel, but Antonia begins to gets us back on track. The last three tracks are some of Metheny's strongest moments compositionally, and the emotional resonance it holds knows no bounds. The layered and morphing The Truth Will Always Be, the fragile and mournful Tell Her You Saw Me, and finally, the tear-jerking, throat-tightening, closure of the album, Our Final Hour. The final three grow more and more orchestral, the first having very little orchestra, the second being dominated by strings and Metheny's guitar, and the last being purely strings and brass.

When looking back over this album, it is very difficult to pick out a flaw, a moment where the music comes short. It holds variation, musical complexity, beautiful compositions, soulful playing, and is devoid of pretentiousness, useless intricacies, boringness, and mediocre musicianship. For any jazz fans, this is an absolute essential: and for those not yet jazz disciples, then this may not be the best place to start, but it is certainly something to pick up at some time.

Report this review (#133620)
Posted Saturday, August 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The one problem I have with Pat Metheny is simply that he has just down right released too many albums. How is a voracious music lover like myself supposed to keep up with all of his material and be able to listen to everything else I desire to hear? Both good and bad here is that Pat's albums are not all essential; so we can pick and choose which ones stay in our rotations. Secret Story is one of those albums. It is quite possibly his most diverse and large-scale release to date (just look at that huge lineup of musicians on this disc!). This disc features Pat's signature sounds, with an added lush, orchestral and new-age blend, whose ebb and flow throughout the disc are a really unique and exciting touch. The world elements are not omnipresent or even overt, but they have a very strong, albeit inconspicuous, effect on the atmosphere. It isn't a very catchy jazz record, but it is truly a magnificent and memorable experience that anyone interested at all in jazz should hear.
Report this review (#165734)
Posted Friday, April 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you want to explore Metheny's work, I think this is the best place to start. Metheny really created something innovative by mixing world music, jazz and rock in an unique way. He's mixing a lot of styles, without making the music sound hesteric (in a negative way). Very much different sounds are present on this record, like synths, orchestra's and unique vocals for this kind of music and all the different kinds of instruments from the guitarfamily. The sound on this album is really multicultural. The best piece on this album is in my opinion 'The truth will always be' and 'see the world' is in my opinion the most brilliant one. This album is just a 'sit and listen album'. Just listen to it and don't think to much about it. It's also great High Fidelity music. Tremendous effort.
Report this review (#183637)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My all-time favorite of many favorite Pat Metheny/Pat Metheny Group albums, this album is also one of the two that, IMO, most qualify for the progressive rock label. With some of the most effective orchestral arrangements I've ever heard in the rock idiom, accompanied by one of Pat's more diverse song lists, this album, pure and simply, has it all: towering solos, acoustic gems, sing-a-long-at-the-top-of-your-lungs, world/ethnic sounds, great guest performances (Charlie Haden, Nana Vasconcelos, Will Lee, Danny Gottlieb, Armando Marçal, Mark Ledford, Steve Ferrone, Sunny Merendino, Gil Goldstein, Akiko Yano, Andy Findon, and two songs with jazz's most acclaimed harmonica player, Toots Thielemans along, of course, with his long-time mainstays, some of the finest musicians at their specific instruments in the world: Paul Wertico on drums, Steve Rodby on bass, and Lyle Mays on keyboards) and many heart- and gut-wrenching soli and melody lines, both upbeat and slow.

1. "Above the Treetops" (9/10) begins with a Cambodian choir singing a traditional hymn while accompanied by the London Orchestra and some percussion and bass from Nana V. and Charlie H., respectively. Eventually Pat voices some of his appreciation with his beautiful acoustic guitar play.

2. "Facing West" (7/10) feels like an older 'Group' song, with familiar structures and sounds--not unlike anything from their 8 recordings from the 1980s. Good song but nothing new or innovative.

3. "Cathedral in a Suitcase" (9/10) is most interesting for its lack of drums and Minimalist background structure with orchestral accompaniment. A song that unfolds slowly and with many subtleties and surprises (like the playground voices in the third minute joined by a wailing electric guitar screaming in the far background followed and interrupted by an orchestral crescendo). Very cool song for those who like to listen, really listen.

4. "Finding and Believing" (8/10) is a three-part song that starts with a weave of some very unusual percussive sounds before steady rhythm section backbeat establishes itself so that some very tribal singing/screaming and chanting can take the lead (credited to and supposedly by New Yorker, white man, Mark Ledford). Part 2 begins at the 3:48 mark with some hand percussives continuing to hold the beat while Jeremy Lubbock's orchestra plays around as if on a movie soundtrack or 1970s jazz fusion interlude. At 6:48 Pat's piano ushers in the rest of the jazz combo and more though very different African-sounding tribal vocals/chants. At 8:15 Pat's smooth electric guitar takes over to play out in a trademark solo over the upbeat, beautiful rhythm structure. Awesome world music.

5. "The Longest Summer" (10/10) begins with Pat on gentle piano and Steve Rodby playing his cool bass. At 1:26 everything shifts into one of the coolest beackbeats over which Pat delivers one heck of an emotional guitar solo with one of my favorite solo instrumental sounds in all of musica guitar synthesizer that sounds much like a 'piccolo trumpet,' if there was such a thing. Then, at 3:15, everything quiets back down to piano and orchestra, repeating much of the songs first part before falling back into the amazing rhythm and 'piccolo trumpet' soloing at the 5:12 markthis time with wonderful augmentation by the London Orchestra till fade. Awesome song!

6. "Sunlight" (7/10) is a very light-hearted, upbeat song--providing quite a break from emotional journey of the last two or three songs. Nothing really new or Earth-shattering; very melodic and straightforward--almost Burt Bacharach-like.

7. "Rain River" (7/10) brings us back into the emotional heaviness of the third world with many ethnic-sounding instruments and sounds, lots of stress on the percussion play. Smooth/Wes Montgomery guitar soloing begins around the 2:45 mark.

8. "Always and Forever" (9/10) is a mellow, deeply reflective/introspective song in which Pat's carefully chosen lead guitar notes are accompanied mostly by a kind of Claus Ogerman-type of instrument arrangement using double bass, brushed drums & orchestra. Very beautiful and mellow.

9. "See the World" (8/10) is not unlike "Sunlight" in its brightness but is much more complex in terms of its arrangement and time signatures. This is jazz. I love the horns, chorded piano, and Paul Wertico's drumming (cymbol play) is, as always, virtuosic. This song, again, has a lot in common with more of the standard 'Group' sounds and arrangements--and complexity--and stands up as as beautiful a song as 'the Group' has ever done.

10. "As a Flower Blossoms" (7/10) is another song that seems to be borrowing from world/ethnic sounds and melody lines, but is really just a little piano/orchestra interlude before one of the album's showcase songs.

11. "Antonia" (9/10) begins with Pat's oft-used Synclavier accordian sound slowly introducing his themes and moods. Before long his melody line is mirrored and harmonized by other guitars and synths. I love the shift to finger-snappin tempo at the 2:54 mark, and the beautiful, emotional and powerful guitar solo that follows before the 4:20 slow down for a gorgeous ending. Beautiful song.

12. "The Truth Will Always Be" (11/10) is simply one of the best Post Rock/Math Rock progressive rock songs I've ever heard and, I often muse, perhaps the first of that sub-genre. IMHO, this is Metheny's finest hour as both a composer and a guitar soloist. The song builds and builds with Steve Ferrone's military drumming gathering strength, slowly moving to the foreground before it blasts us away with sounds on a par with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture's cannon shots--all this to set up your goosebumps to be totally blown away by Pat's soaring, screaming, ripping, tearing, gut-wrenching 'piccolo trumpet' guitar soloing above the din! WOW! Who said "Comfortably Numb" or "Firth of Fifth" has the greatest guitar solo in history? I beg to differ! It's here! Check it out!

13. "Tell Her You Saw Me" (10/10). How do you follow the most gut-wrenching song of all time? With one of the most mellow, beautiful songs ever written/performed. Jeremy Lubbock and the London Orchestra perform a beautiful arrangement as Pat's feather-plucked electric guitar first mirrors and then barely squeaks his plaintive solo above the orchestra. Absolutely breathtaking! And heart-wrenching.

14. "Not to Be Forgotten (Our Final Hour)" (10/10) is an amazingly gorgeous song performed solely by the London Orchestra. On a par with anything Enrico Morricone or Hans Zimmer has ever done. Could be longer. I'd listen to a whole album of just this. Gorgeous.

This album is as much of a true masterpiece as any I have ever reviewed. And anyone who seems to want to deny Pat credit for his guitar skills ought to have his ears examined: there are few if any guitarists out there who can command the speed, dexterity, and express such emotion with such amazing melody, complexity of music, and length as Pat Metheny. He is a guitar god. One of the all-time greats. If you have any doubts please watch any of his live videos or better yet, see him in concert! He only does 200 concerts and a world tour every year. See him now. Did I mention that hes also a marathon runner? Makes his music and stamina that much better. Have I made my point?

Report this review (#368041)
Posted Thursday, December 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars An album that does not need lyrics to describe one's emotional experience. Its a love story filled with feelings of joy and disappointments wonderfully crafted with layers of orchestral arrangements, guitars and keyboards. When I first listened to this album rather casually, what made me stop and rewind was "The Truth will always be". I heard it again and again with a feeling that a someone was crawling out of a dark hole into a bright explosion of light (that's when the guitar explodes, actually). Then I go back and listen to the whole album again and again. Metheny's music does not necessarily have a straight forward structure, being mainly jazz in nature. But as you get to hear them repeatedly you get to know the avenues and you get to love his work. This album is however above average as it feels like a more personal and intimate expression. I highly recommend the album who's interested in a heartfelt musical adventure.
Report this review (#511249)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 7/10

"Secret Story" is one of Pat Metheny's most ambitious, unique, and progressive works.

One of Metheny's highest and most interesting points of his career, "Secret Story" is not your usual guitar oriented jazz album. There's as a matter of fact something to it that makes it one of this guitarist's most ambitious, unique, and frankly progressive works.

This kind of jazz is labeled by some smooth jazz, but it's actually much more than that: there are tons of synthesizer sounds (played by Pat himself, with nothing but his guitar, and of course MIDI cords), tons of world music influences, especially African and European, the latter one by chance being part of the most melancholic side of the LP. This is Metheny exploring and experimenting, and he does it so well that it is always enjoyable to hear him do so. The musicianship surrounding him is decent, but not memorable, as obviously Pat is the center of the album, and all the noticeable sounds (except for drums) are created by him.

"Secret Story" to me is one of the perfect examples of Metheny's favorite themes, such as travel and being on the road: the world music influence is the exquisite proof. But we also find this theme in moods themselves, cheerful, full of hope and excitement, but at times also full of melancholy and even sadness. It literally is an adventurous albums that visits different sounds textures and new horizons. My only complaint is that it is way too long, clocking in almost 80 minutes in length, and I strongly feel that the results would have been the same if it was a half an hour shorter. However, the longer episodes seem to be more appealing than others: "Finding And Believing"'s ten minutes are pretty epic, thanks to the outstanding African-esque vocals that create a wonderful atmosphere, "The Truth Will Always Be" a greatly structured song, with a nice, calm hook that echoes along the nine minutes of the entire track. "Antonia" is a shorter, but extremely nostalgic piece, of soothing beauty, "Cathedral In a Suitcase" a brilliant evocation and summary of the general moods that the album as a whole creates.

"Secret Story", despite it's excessiveness, is a great treat, an album that a Pat Metheny fan will love dearly, for sure. I never had so much emotions brought up by listening to one of his albums.

Report this review (#566720)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Pat Metheny is one of the pioneers of smooth jazz and jazz rock in general with more then 30 years career and great deal of excellent albums. Personaly his music doesn't move me big time, but from time to time I really enjoy some more calmer smoother side of jazz rock/fusion. One of his better albums and most diverse is Secret story from 1992. Well, for sure his music is not an every day one for me, but I do appreciate his talent and inventivness. This release is great and show how versatile Pat Metheny is on guitar, he practicaly explores every corner of smooth jazz here. Also to me is probably his most progressive of his albums with good amount of excellent passages like on Facing West , Cathedral in a Suitcase, perfect example of Metheny great ideas. All in all one of his best and one of the best I've hered from this side of jazz. Good one from start to finish.3 stars.
Report this review (#1028666)
Posted Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars My god... what an emotional piece in music... I don't exactly know why this is on Progarchives but I ain't complaining. This album is just a beautiful from end to end. Pat Metheny's songwriting and guitar playing is extraordinary, he plays really well live too (so that's a big positive). Nice little solos, and (again) emotional songwriting. This is my favourite album by Pat Metheny, and of course the incredible Lyle Mays also plays a huge part on this album with his incredible songwriting and keyboard playing. Keep in mind, this world jazz music is really hard to sound original in. Thankfully Mr. Pat Metheny and Mr. Lyle Mays did a brilliant job at keeping it original.

I can't say much else about this album, it really is a masterpiece... I know I say that a lot... but it's true. I wouldn't call something a masterpiece unless it really was one.

If you want a bit of a different album, but something just as good, go listen to Lyle Mays first album (as I like to call it 'Highland Aire') or go listen to 'As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls' by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. Both are masterpieces, and I mean that. These albums are a staple in both their careers, and are all gorgeous.

Cheers!

Zoltan.

Report this review (#2261535)
Posted Sunday, September 15, 2019 | Review Permalink

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