Pat Metheny has played in a lot of contexts in recent years. Lots of duos, lots of work with jazzers of different ilks, and, of course, his own group. I like his playing almost anywhere, but I like the stuff with the Pat Metheny Group the best. So, needless to say, I was looking forward to the new album.
It doesn’t disappoint. Like many of the group’s records, it fits together nicely. In fact, it almost seems like a book that reads from chapter to chapter. I don’t know that I’d say there’s a theme, but it is musically seamless. Through it all, Metheny shines on guitars and guitar synth. It’s easy to forget that guitar synth actually can sound good until you hear it in the hands of someone who knows how to use it as a nice solo voice. For plain-old displays of chops, it’s hard to top the likes of “Proof” and “Afternoon.” Effortlessly running through the changes with imagination, and still having an edge is a real gift. It’s a gift Metheny definitely possesses. There’s some beautiful acoustic work on songs like “Another Life.” And the band is, as always, fine.
If you’re a fan of the group, you’ll love this. If you’re not familiar start here, then move to the other stuff. Metheny is one of the greatest jazz players of his generation, and this shows why.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.