Pat Metheny Group: THE WAY UP

Discussion in 'Music' started by Keith I, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    Their new album THE WAY UP is due January 25 (delayed two weeks) from Nonesuch Records. This is a 68-minute continuous track broken into four parts.

    There's also a chance that the Group's back catalog (including the Geffen titles) being either remastered or released with extra songs! This is due to their new label Nonesuch.

    www.patmethenygroup.com
    There is a song clip available. It sounds very much like a typical PMG song with some minor changes.

    www.nonesuch.com (click on "Jazz" to see cover art and other tidbits)
     
  2. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    Has anyone here got this? What are your impressions?
     
  3. Dan Lassiter

    Dan Lassiter Stunt Coordinator

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    Got it on Tuesday and have already listened to it 5 times. It's an amazing CD. It's full of texture and layers and layers of interesting sounds. It's very intricate with lots of time changes and some very nice jazz guitar soloing.

    I notice that the reviews on Amazon show that people either love it or hate it. I fall into the love it category. In a way, I think it's kind of the Progressive Rock fan's Pat Metheny Group album. At times it's like straight jazz guitar, then it's like Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans and then at others it's almost classical.

    It is clearly not for the casual fan. You really need to sit down and listen to it. I think it is one of the boldest musical statements I've heard in a long time and I feel almost certain it will win the Pat Metheny Group another Grammy for best jazz CD.

    Don't get me wrong, the music is often very subtle. And there aren't alot of melodies that you will be humming. I don't know how to describe it other than the word hypnotic. I listened to it twice today in the car and could have kept it going longer if I wanted to.

    If you are not one to follow the beaten path, and if your mind is open to very dense, experimental music, I recommend it.
     
  4. Keith I

    Keith I FoS

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    I've listened to it several times (with and without headphones) since it came out just so I could absorb everything. I even had my wife listen to parts of it and she said something worth noting. Now I can make my judgments.

    Most of the music contains familiar Metheny "themes" (since STILL LIFE TALKING) that are connected into lengthy running times. There are passages that have a new sound, though. Those passages make this release refreshing.

    While I enjoyed the music, if I had to nitpick the actual sound, I would say there are many recycling of themes that I've heard before on other PM(G) albums. (This is what my wife noted upon hearing it casually, not really sitting down and listening to it. She could identify the band without knowing who it was and she is NOT a music-listener. She just knows what I listen to.) The themes are connected in new ways, which isn't a bad thing.

    So on a 5-star rating, I'd give it an average of 4-star rating. That would be 5 for the music itself, which is still fantastic (if you love the "Metheny sound"). I would give it a 3-star rating for composition. I'm not a musician so please don't chastise me for not knowing better. I'm just reacting to what my ears heard. And I've been a fan since his ECM days.

    That's why I loved IMAGINARY DAY. The sound was a lot different from what we heard before it. Even the slower ballads had a different sound to them. When he let loose with the NIN-inspired stuff, that was new and fresh, too.

    When SPEAKING OF NOW came out, I had the same feeling as with THE WAY UP. It sounded familiar but, again, I still enjoyed the music.

    I'm no jazz expert but I feel that with jazz music, it's very difficult to have different sounds. Jazz is based around similar compositions and sounds, so to be able to give us different tunes is not easy. You can take themes and structure them around each other in different ways. Many jazz bands are like this. (I guess any type of music is like this, not just jazz.) This is not a negative criticism of them. As a casual listener (meaning I just listen to the music, I don't dissect it), most of them sound just fine to me (including THE WAY UP). Any musician who can compose and play their own music is tops in my book, which isn't that big anyway.

    I don't envy music critics. It's difficult to critique music when the easiest thing to do is compare it to other music that sound similar.

    I will still continue to support the Pat Metheny Group because it is better than lots of stuff out there nowadays. I am grateful they are still releasing albums so that I can actually look forward to something! Now all we need here is to have a concert, but Pat himself told me it's too expensive and there is a lack of interest out here. *sniff* So CDs and DVDs are the closest I'll get to seeing them live.
    -
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    It's been a long time since I've listened to PMG. This sounds like a good one to recharge on...[​IMG]
     
  6. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I've only had time for a couple of listens, but my originaly impression is that it has a little more straight jazz feel than the typical PMG effort. It's a dense work and I definitely need a few more listens to really get into it.

    Just before "The Way Up" came out, I pulled out "Bright Size Life" and gave it a listen for the first time in years. Hard to believe that one came out the year I entered college! Pat Metheny has now been recording for three decades, and has maintained an impressive level of quality that entire time. What an amazing career from this extraordinary musician, and being still relatively young I suspect he's got at least another 30 years in him. [​IMG]
     

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