PAT METHENY — Bright Size Life (review)

PAT METHENY — Bright Size Life album cover Album · 1976 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·

"Bright Size Life" is an album full of true gems.

Pat Metheny is one of the most fammous jazz guitarists ever, along with other legends Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and such. Metheny released his first album back in 1976, and was very noticed among the fusion scene, thanks also to his immediately noticeable guitar playing, that still gives the chills today.

For this first album, the guitarist calls in the amazing bass player Jaco Pastorius to play during the recording sessions, as well as Bob Moses, the famous jazz drummer. The result of this is "Bright Size Life". The production here is sublime, extremely clean and delicate, and no instrument, surprisingly, is louder or more highlighted when the band plays all together. Metheny's guitars are as well very clean and pretty sounding, which is the thing that I liked the most about this album. Pastorius' bass, when played, is precise and decisive, absolutely brilliant bass playing. The drums are as well great, but I gotta put Bob Moses into the shadow a little bit; his playing pales into comparison of the other two musicians, in my opinion.

"Bright Size Life" is sure a Fusion album, but there are no electric moments here, expect for the fact that playing there is an electric guitar and electric bass; but it's definitely not Fusion as one would usually imagine, like Bitches Brew era Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Mahavishnu Orchestra.Like I mentioned before, this album is much cleaner sounding, and there is no distortion whatsoever. The music is relaxing, totally chilled out, and even haunting in some tracks, especially the more melodic ones. Then again the tone can be a little more enlivened in some points thanks to Metheny's solos.

the title track opens the album majestically, thanks to it's beautiful melody that will be regarded as one of Metheny's most famous. "Sirabhorn" is just as beautiful, but it's a little more minimalistic and tense. Even more tense is the six minute "Midwestern Nights Dream", very chilling and evocative. Some songs like "Unity Village" or "Missouri Uncompromised" are much less melodic and are mainly focused on improvisation. "Unquity Road" has a more peculiar and energetic melody, still being able to sound very fetching. "Round Trip" closes very cheerfully the album, thanks to the bluesy melodies. This was actually an Ornette Coleman cover.

A really good album, that has just a few songs that I don't care for, but all the others are true gems, that should be listened to if a jazz fan.
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