Cultural Institution Blesok • Established 1998
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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 38 | volume VII | September-October, 2004



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 38September-October, 2004
Sound Reviews

Pat Metheny: Speaks of Now

p. 1
Mike Brannon

It's been five and six years since the releases of the conceptual stretches of “Imaginary Day” and “Quartet”. In that time much has happened regarding the entity known for the past 25 years as The Pat Metheny Group. After an extensive interim world tour and recording both live and studio albums in a trio project with the extraordinary rhythm section of Larry Grenadier and Bill Stewart, Metheny decided it was again time to write and record new group material to bring on the road. Though mainstays pianist/keyboardist, Lyle Mays and bassist Steve Rodby have remained, for the first time in 15 years, a core member has moved on to pursue his own group. An exceptional drummer and sonic counterbalance for the group, Paul Wertico had become an integral part of the group's sound and left a large shadow to fill.
    Consequently, Pat first heard drummer Antonio Sanchez (w/ Danilo Perez, Burton, Liebman) while sharing the bill with the Danilo Perez trio and was impressed by his fluency with the musical language they share. As luck would have it, percussion/vocal/ bass phenom, Richard Bona (w/ Mike Stern, Joe Zawinal, Mike Brecker) was also available and along with soulful trumpeter/vocalist, Cuong Vu (w/ David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Laurie Anderson) extend, extrude, elicit, surround and support the core of this group in a new but familiar way.
    Though all substantially younger than the remaining members and all from vastly different cultures and geographies, all three grew up with a shared affinity with the group's music, that is at once apparent. As in past reorganizations, you sense the energy of the new beginning and few limits to it's potential.
    For Metheny, it's been a long and eventful journey. The latest necessitation of change. Among the notable events that complete his bio include being the youngest teacher ever at both the prestigious Berklee College and University of Miami (19 & 18), releasing contemporary classics, “Bright Size Life”, (w/ Jaco & Bob Moses), “Question and Answer” (w/ Dave Holland & Roy Haynes) and “Rejoicing” (w/ Charlie Haden & Billy Higgins) and nearly redefining the guitar trio and the possibilities for guitar in improvised music. This meant fusing the one time disparate elements of rock, folk, Brazilian, experimental, even chamber, neo-classical and gospel influences, and filtering all through the context of a very driven, unique jazz sensibility. It also meant choosing players as carefully as orchestrations and instruments, for

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