Record of the day: Pat Metheny Trio, "Live"

Record of the day: Pat Metheny Trio, “Live”

Pat Metheny Trio
Live (2CD Warner Bros. 9362-47907-2)

This live recording is the best demonstration of how the concert experience manages to radically transform the musical personality of the eclectic guitarist Pat Metheny (who moves as much at ease in the territories of the most experimental jazz and bebop as in the insipid waters of New Age).

The Trio had made their debut the previous year with a work where Metheny seemed to move through the use of automatic pilot, embroidering one lick after another with absolute perfection, but proving almost bored by such expertise, without managing to bite for an instant musical discourse polite and free of contrasts, so much so that the center of attention ended up focusing on the rhythm section formed by Larry Grenadier (double bass) and above all Bill Stewart (drums), inexhaustible in his skill and imagination.

Subsequently the group left for a long tour of concerts, and the daily comparison with this formation (so different from the lush atmospheres of the Pat Metheny Group) gave Metheny an injection of energy; he has been more committed to digging deep into his repertoire, taking inspiration from old records such as “Oframp” and “New Chautauqua” (also giving us intense versions of “Bright Size Life”, “James” and “Question and Answer”) and from the great jazz tradition: both the slowed down version of “Giant Steps” and the full-speed melodic transmutations of “All the Things You Are” are very notable, where Stewart also gives a dazzling solo full of polyrhythms.

Metheny has a tendency to perform solos of torrential length that sometimes border on monologue, however on this occasion he does not indulge in narcissism and tries to listen to his stage companions with considerable sensitivity; the lack of support from his trusted keyboard player Lyle Mays forces him into total chordal mobility, alternating polyphonic passages, harmonic plays and moments of greater singing expansiveness, while the pressing rhythm prevents the guitarist from producing those high-sugar moments that he likes them a lot.

There is little to swoon over the propulsions of Stewart and Grenadier, who throw coal into the stove and make the jazz locomotive march at full speed along a.
a journey lasting over two hours that passes in a flash.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.