By: Jake Krolick
Recently I've enjoyed my music on the rougher side with its raw tattered edges hanging out for all to hear. When challenged to visit the mastery on Pat Metheny's Day Trip (Nonesuch) it took a few warm-up spins before I could actually grasp the level of playing on his latest album. Strangely, nothing left me awestruck on my first spin. Then, as I dissected the music, I started to realize what a flawless work of art this is. Sometimes being a fan of many genres actually hinders your ear. Use caution, if you take in massive varieties of music you can become desensitized and dismiss the truly great before your ear adapts to the changes in genre and texture.
Metheny has pounded the pavement for more than 30 years, recording numerous records and averaging 120-240 concerts a year. Bright Size Life originally sparked my admiration for the jazz guitarist in the trio setting. Metheny obtained legendary lift-off fueled by the growling bass of Jaco Pastorius and the craftiness of drummer Bob Moses . Now, Christian McBride (bass) and Antonio Sanchez (drums) have joined Metheny to emote jazz at inspiring levels. This is the best Pat Metheny album since Bright Size Life, which has always made a strong argument for him to work more in a trio setting.
Chemistry and spontaneity, the jazzman Metheny craves not these things, yet lives and breathes them on each of Day Trip's ten original compositions. The playing throughout smiles with inspiration and life, riding like a shotgun seated dog with its tongue hanging out in the wind. As you'd expect from musicians who have played hundreds of dates together, they're very relaxed in each other's company. Metheny's playing is imaginative with a radiant, vivid pitch. He sinks counter-measures between Sanchez's snare-and-tom samba on "Son of Thirteen" and the Grant Green style saunter of "Calvin's Keys."
The music is so slick and relaxed that if you're not paying attention, you'll miss key exchanges and subtle shifts in momentum. Sanchez delivers spine-tingling moments on the title track with authentic Latin inspired drumming. My personal favorite, "The Red One," rides dirty in a '79 BMW, using its uptempo reggae style as a balance to the more insightful atmosphere elsewhere. This reinvented song was originally featured on the John Scofield/Pat Metheny album I Can See Your House From Here.
The reality of this new album is that Metheny, like any other true master artist, has a need to create that can't be locked into one form. He is that 'rad' of a jazzman that he will let the trio experience on this album carry his music to its next exciting incarnation. In the meantime, Day Trip is a destined classic, a jazz album for the ages, one that will extend Metheny's status as one of the world's most exceptional jazz guitar players.
JamBase | New York
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