PAT METHENY — Pat Metheny Group : The Way Up (review)

PAT METHENY — Pat Metheny Group : The Way Up album cover Album · 2005 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
I am not the hugest fan of smooth jazz but I can take it in small doses. The likes of Kenny G, The Rippingtons and their ilk are ok, but I generally prefer more of a bite in my jazz tastes with my favorites being the most adventurous musical souls. PAT METHENY alone and with his GROUP rarely manage to excite me and always tread lightly upon the musical paths they embark upon. Such the case can be said for this release THE WAY UP which seems to be universally hailed as their best album and judging by the handful of METHENY releases I have listened to so far, I would have to agree with that statement. Yes, this is still smooth jazz, but this is progressive smooth jazz!

This album was inspired by both the works of Steve Reich and Eberhard Weber, both of whom METHENY has worked with. This album is designed to be one long album long track that reaches just over 68 minutes in length but broken into 4 tracks only for navigational purposes. The sounds on here are very typical for METHENY, of what i've heard so far, but what is very different from other releases is that the compositions are much more complex than anything i've encountered from this group so far. They master the art of extending pieces and exploring variations on themes and add interesting solos as well.

Although this still reminds me of fluffy unsalted and unbuttered popcorn with cotton balls in the clouds in a place where calmness and serenity suffocate any remote threat of surprise and angst, the fact is that when the compositions are interesting as on this album, then I have to admit that the smoother and calmer side of the jazz-fusion spectrum can be quite interesting indeed. Although this will probably never rank up there in the top ranks of my all time treasured albums, this certainly has a worthy spot in my collection to fire up every now and again simply to ride the jazz-fusiony ethers that are as light and fluffy as a light breezy spring shower raining pillows and marshmallows on the fertile lands where only white bunnies and fuzzy easter chicks roam.
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