PAT METHENY — As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (with Lyle Mays) (review)

PAT METHENY — As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (with Lyle Mays) album cover Album · 1981 · Post-Fusion Contemporary Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Abraxas
Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays back in the late 70's and through the 80's managed to achieve a couple of jazz masterpieces with their own original, very American sound; As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls was one of those various masterpieces, although it doesn't actually fall in the 'jazz' category.

The album starts off with the tour-de-force that the title track is, being over 20 minutes of pure bliss. This is not jazz fusion or any form of jazz, though, it's more of an ambient epic with mellow and dark themes that flow flawlessly together creating a thrilling journey in which Lyle is the main performer playing some delicate and intriguing keyboards that as a whole create a chilling aura. Having said that this is not jazz fusion, you must not expect Metheny's traditional synth guitar; Metheny mainly plays gentle bass and guitar bits on top of Lyle's mesmerizing soundscapes. To add a bit of bite to the music, Nana Vasconcelos is here adding the last ingredient to the music with his splendid percussion.

The following track, 'Ozark', is in the style of Pat Metheny's Group. You've got the usual up-lifting mood with Lyle's cheering piano and Pat's constant acoustic guitar. A lovely tune to play in a sunny day.

'September Fifteenth' is a sad, though beautiful tune that is dedicated to Bill Evans, the marvellous jazz pianist who passed away on September 15th 1980, after a long struggle with drugs. Pat and Lyle really play with their hearts on this tune.

'It's For You' is a tad bit melancholic with some very mellow passages in which Nana uses his voice as an instrument of melancholy. Metheny is heard with his 12-string guitar and his unique electric guitar delivering a delightful solo which finalizes the tune greatly.

The album ends with 'Estupenda Graça'(Stupendous Grace), a short and delicate tune with Nana being the one that leads the tune with his voice. This track finishes the album indeed with ''stupendous grace''.

In the end, I wouldn't consider As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls a jazz fusion masterpiece, so jazz fusion/rock fans that want to check out Pat Metheny, they better start with American Garage and the debut of the Pat Metheny Group, which actually aren't fusion in the classic way of Return to Forever or Weather Report. However anyone who is keen on Metheny's and Lyle's unique compositional skills this album should be checked out.
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