PAT METHENY — Pat Metheny Group : The Way Up

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PAT METHENY - Pat Metheny Group : The Way Up cover
4.47 | 29 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2005

Filed under Fusion


1. The Way Up: Opening (5:17)
2. The Way Up: Part One (26:27)
3. The Way Up: Part Two (20:29)
4. The Way Up: Part Three (15:54)

Total Time: 68:07


- Pat Metheny / acoustic guitar, electric guitar, synthesizer guitar
- Lyle Mays / piano, keyboards
- Steve Rodby / bass, cello
- Chong Vu / trumpet, voice
- Gregoire Maret / harmonica
- Antonio Sanchez / drums
- Richard Bona / percussion, voice
- David Samuels / percussion

About this release

Nonesuch 79876-2 (US)

Recorded 2003/2004 at Right Track Recording, New York City

Thanks to darkshade for the addition and snobb for the updates


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Members reviews

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.
The way up into the beauty of sound

Pat Metheny is well known for being a master of jazz fusion. Through a career spanning nearly 40 years, he has written and released many albums, recorded with numerous groups of talented musicians, and released some of the tastiest and innovative fusion out there. The Way Up may be his most innovative, progressive, and delicious album yet. The album, comprised of a single, 68 minute long composition broken into four parts, is easily my favorite progressive jazz song out there, and its length only adds to my love of the music. The melodic quality, the crispness of the music, the incredible up-down feel of the flow of the song and so much more make this album (and song) just an incredible experience. Whether you are riding the waves of one of Metheny's many spectacular solos of or the incredible atmosphere the 'toy' instruments make throughout the song, this is truly a special release, and is well deservedly a masterpiece of jazz fusion.

Opening slowly and with an almost ambient feel, the song quickly accelerates into a swinging and sweeping bop-like song. With an incredible flow and superb communicative feeling about it, this music is truly sublime as you ride the sonic roller coaster of this man's composition. The song has a huge amount of improvisation, and the guys who make up this spectacular band have no trouble weaving in and out of chord progressions and sections like no one's business. The main theme, returned to once and a while, is a spectacularly beautiful passage, worthy of entrance in the famous fake books of jazz charts.

Whether you are experiencing the beauty of Metheny guitar tone, the nonchalant effortlessness of the piano, or the sweeping grandeur of a trumpet, this entire composition has some of the most beautiful moments in all of jazz fusion. The beauty associated with the flow of this albums almost breath-like flow, with a crescendo as the music breathes in and a sublime decrescendo and deceleration as the music exhales is absolutely spectacular. The incredible movement between the parts as the themes change and the music is revived as one might begin to get 'bored' is wonderful as well, with some wonderful instrumentation insinuated all throughout the album. Overall, this album is just supremely beautiful, in composition, in form, and in virtually every aspect of its being.

I've said pretty much everything. I love this album. It truly is spectacular. The whole way through, the composition never fails to impress me, even 67 minutes in. Knee deep in Metheny's musical genius, I really can't see how anyone could not love this music. I would highly recommend this album to any fan of jazz fusion. It truly is a pure masterpiece. 5 stars.

“The Way Up” is the essential Fusion album of the nearby future.

Who is the best jazz guitarist ever made? Who knows? I’ve always thought Pat Metheny was the guy. He has made over forty albums, and has been writing music and being on the road for all of his life basically. We see, especially in his first albums, an urgent sense of travel, of going in foreign places, exploring, being part of the world. So how is it that in the later years, and especially with “The Way Up”, his music feels more like a good-at-home listen? He’s certainly not tired of going around, I just saw him very recently live. Pat Metheny is one of those musicians that morphs and experiments a lot, to the point where even his philosophy can be altered, like it is here, or at least to me.

This musician has been quite an eclectic one, he’s gone from acoustic to Fusion to World music to Electronic, and always using his beloved guitar and billions of effects with it. “The Way Up” is the essence of Metheny’s Fusion side, meaning his more complex and cerebral type of music. This album has been so much praised by fans of progressive rock and fusion because it’s Pat’s most ambitious album, the one with most textures and sound layers, the one that more than every other has a care for every single detail, the one with the best and most modern production. The guitars, the keyboards, the vibraphone, the sax, the strings, everything is amazingly lush sounding. The structure of these four songs is extremely complex and thought-provoking, and the length of the tracks are for some almost too much, but not for the average prog or jazz listener.

“The Way Up” can be considered a single 60 minute epic piece, but it’s divided in three parts, and before these the opener, a brief sort of overture. I’ve never had such a hard time to follow an album, and I’ve listened to plenty of jazz. The twenty six minutes of “Part 1” are very easy to get lost in, but when you listen to it carefully, the solos, the calmer, acoustic parts are beautifully alternated with each other. This part is probably the best of the album, a brilliant piece of music. “Part 2” is generally a slower, quieter song, and has only a few points where it gets more lively, but it’s another great really good track. My least favorite has to go to the last part of the three, fifteen minutes long, the majority of the moments is quite good, but others are a little more boring. Not to forget the outstanding intro, only five minutes long but extremely dense.

A great effort for Pat Metheny who proves he can still create majestic albums even after more than thirty years. An essential release for anyone who is a jazz fan; this is the Jazz Fusion of the nearby future.
Where do I begin? This album is one of the best jazz-rock albums ever made. Why? Because not only is it well crafted music, but it is truly innovative music. There is no moment in the album where you are reminded of 70s fusion, in fact, though you can tell it is Metheny on guitar and Lyle Mays on keys, but everything that happens in the music is compltely original, which is hard to do with 2000s jazz-rock fusion.

Instead, the group create a fascinating experience for the listener. Think of this as a progressive rock fan's dream jazz album. The melodies are endless, and catchy, even some solos are hummable.

The Pat Metheny Group have made some very fine albums, and some that aren't completely my taste, but still well made. The ones that are good, are amazing, and I consider some almost 5 star albums. With The Way Up released in 2005(which is still their most recent album as of 2011), they finally achieved that "Masterpiece" status.

This music is refreshing coming from a group and guitarist who are veterans of jazz. The Way Up Part 1 first 6 minutes or so is pure prog heaven, some fantastic music all around; just sublime.

However, there are some complex pieces within The Way Up, and the music moves like classical music in structure. This is not an album you can wrap your head around in 2 or 3 listens. But when you hear it for the first few times, there is always something that sticks out, making you want to come back for more.

I cannot recommend this album enough, especially to show that this genre still has a lot to say, and can continue to progress. If you are a fan of Pat Metheny, you probably already have this album. If you aren't this is an essential album to have.

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