There's a bit of a role reversal going on with this one. Trumpeter Cuong Vu—a Pat Metheny devotee from the time he first heard the guitarist's Travels (ECM, 1983) as a teenager—eventually came to join the Pat Metheny Group, enhancing the sound of the band on a pair of Grammy-winning albums: Speaking Of Now (Warner Bros. 2002) and The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005). Now Metheny returns the favor, joining Vu's crew for this expansive outing.
This is a soul-stirring release performed by Pat Metheny and a plethora of friends, all great jazz musicians in their own right. Works II is a compilation of his finest work, spread out from the years 1976 to 1984. This guitarist/composer/bandleader became one of the leading names in the jazz genre during the '70s and '80s. This collection of beautifully written numbers reflects his character of good taste and the unique flavor of his graceful, even-flowing solos. Opening with "Unquity Road," Metheny is joined by the legendary Jaco Pastorius on bass and Bob Moses on drums. The soothing sweeping tones of his guitar blends in charmingly with Moses pulsating percussion and the rousing basslines of Pastorius.
This live American concert in 1992 emerged on cd at about the same time as the Geffen release "The road to you" which was culled from PMG's european concerts in the early 90's. While this current selection may not quite equal that release in the quality of the sound, it is a much better live performance overall. There are a couple of small blips in the performance but this is live and taken from one concert. Raw Metheny but edge of your seat performance.
Once you’ve heard Pat Metheny you will always recognise him, no matter what company he’s in or what instrument he’s playing, be it a simple acoustic guitar or some unlikely invention of his own. Beneath it all there’s a frank, open-hearted tunefulness that keeps the music airborne. This double album, recorded at the end of a year-long tour by his Unity Band, is as polished and sophisticated as any, but moments such as the opening melody of This Belongs to You or the gradual unfolding of Born are just plain elegant. There’s a similar quality about saxophonist Chris Potter’s playing, and all four are so relaxed in each other’s company that everything flows beautifully.
Despite the somewhat misleading title, Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny, trumpeter Cuong Vu has a lengthy history with the legendary jazz guitarist that goes back to Metheny's Grammy-winning 2002 album, Speaking of Now. Since then, Vu has played with Metheny enough that he is a regular part of the conversation when discussing the guitarist's more adventurous contemporary works. Despite his pedigree, having graduated from the New England Conservatory and worked with such luminaries as David Bowie, Myra Melford, Laurie Anderson, and others, Vu is a maverick. A highly gifted, forward-thinking musician, Vu often eschews the more clarion, declarative aspects of his chosen instrument in favor of macabre growls, dampened tones, and improvisatory lines that skitter forth with the mad convulsions of a housefly.
This album finds guitarist Pat Metheny on solid ground. It's a typical post-bop with a vaguely Latin feel. Metheny hooks up with his regular partners, Christian McBride on double bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. As you'd expect for musicians who have played hundreds of dates together they're very comfortable in each other's company.
Secret Story is among the more provocative recordings in Pat Metheny's oeuvre. Combining the relaxed groove of the early Pat Metheny Group recordings, it is full of odd sounds, exotic instrumentation, and the participation of members of the London Orchestra conducted by Jeremy Lubbock. Along with regular group members bassist Steve Rodby, drummer Paul Wertico, percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, pianist-keyboardist Lyle Mays numerous guests adorn these tracks as well: bassists Charlie Haden and Will Lee, percussionist Armando Marcal, vocalist Mark Ledford, jazz harmonica legend Toots Thielmans, Gil Goldstein, and Pat's brother Mike Metheny. But what's most notable is that none of these players are constants, as this is most certainly a Metheny solo effort: Secret Story is his own song, so to speak.