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Bebop Spoken There

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Monday, June 04, 2012

CD Review - Pat Metheny: Unity Band

Pat Metheny (gtr); Chris Potter (ten/sop/bs clt); Ben Williams (bs); Antonio Sanchez (dms).
(Review by Lance).
I must confess that, over the years, my enthusiasm for Metheny has waxed and waned as he explored so many different genre often with only a tenuous connection to jazz. However, there's always been a jazz side to his playing and it emerges triumphantly and joyously on this his latest CD.

For Unity Band Metheny has reverted to a straight forward line-up of sax/guitar/bass and drums. Not that the music is totally orthodox - how could it be given the protagonists? In Potter, Metheny has found a soul mate capable of matching him in creativity. Soaring high with fast angular lines the saxman is a worthy co-pilot not afraid to mix it. Having said that there are also tender moments smooth and languorous as black velvet and oysters on a summer's night. A case in point is the opening track New Year which opens with Metheny gently stating the melody before Potter takes it up, gradually reaching a frenetic peak then returning to the tranquillity of the theme. Ben Williams is outstanding on bass and is rapidly becoming the one they all have to beat.
Roofdogs has a folksy feel to it - with Irish (possibly Scottish) overtones. Sanchez's drumming is positively inspirational here. I could go on listing the many delights - not least the guitar bossman himself who is in scintillating form throughout and Potter - described, not inaccurately, by Metheny as "One of the greatest musicians of our time" - but instead just listen to some samples here.
Lance.
Pat Metheny: Unity Band. Nonesuch Records. Release date June 11, 2012.
The band's European Tour includes a concert at the Barbican, London, on July 8. 

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