This set, recorded at New York City's Bottom Line in September of 1978, is a wonderful example of the Pat Metheny Group onstage at this early stage, shortly after the release of their debut album. Not surprisingly, the set includes material from that album, but also explores older and side project material in the context of this quartet, as well and a couple of key compositions destined for the group's follow-up, American Garage. As such, this set serves up a fine example of what drew attention to this group in the first place and will be illuminating to anyone interested in this relatively early stage of Pat Metheny's career as a performing musician.
Ever curious, courageous and endlessly creative, virtuoso guitarist and musical mastermind Pat Metheny takes on John Zorn’s Masada songbook to create some of the most soulful and adventurous sounds yet heard in the Book of Angels series. Turn up the volume and revel in the breadth of imagination in these remarkable arrangements featuring Pat on a huge arsenal of instruments, and the powerful Antonio Sanchez on drums. Pat Metheny continues to surprise and experiment with new musical frontiers well into the 21st century. Released in coordination with Nonesuch, this is a match made in Heaven—essential!
This late-'80s work finds the minimalist composer mixing acoustic and taped material to great effect. The disc's centerpiece is "Different Trains," a work that frames Reich's impressions of his boyhood train trips between his mother in Los Angeles and his father in New York; Reich also intersperses references to the much more harrowing train rides Jews were forced to take to Nazi concentration camps. Using the fine playing of the Kronos Quartet as a base, Reich layers the work with the taped train musings of his governess, a retired Pullman porter, and various Holocaust survivors – vintage train sounds from the '30s and '40s add to the riveting arrangement. And for some nice contrast, Reich recruits guitarist Pat Metheny to create a similarly momentous piece in "Electric Counterpoint" (Metheny plays live over a multi-tracked tape of ten guitars and two electric basses). Two fine works by Reich in his prime.
Although one often thinks of Jaco Pastorius' first solo album as being 1976's Jaco on Epic, producer/keyboardist Paul Bley actually gave Pastorius his first chance to lead a recording two years earlier. Coincidentally titled Jaco, this spontaneous set (which has been reissued on CD) is also significant for being among guitarist Pat Metheny's first recordings; completing the quartet are Bley on electric piano and drummer Bruce Ditmas. The music consists of three songs by Bley, five from Carla Bley, and "Blood" by Annette Peacock. Pastorius sounds quite powerful, but Metheny's tone is kind of bizarre, very distorted and not at all distinctive at this point.