Sunday, December 5, 2010

album 44: pat metheny group (pat metheny group)

this album was the very first recording by the then recently founded pat metheny group, recorded and released in 1978. young jazz guitar player pat metheny and piano master lyle mays co-founded the group and included mark egan on bass guitar and dan gottblieb on drums to form the first of not too many lineups of the group's history. and it was quite a remarkable start.
the album opens with an over 10-minute tune featuring pat on a 12-string guitar with peculiar tuning and a long solo by lyle mays. what a way to start a debut album: no solo for the lead musician, over 10 minutes and a never-heard before guitar sound. needless to say that "san lorenzo" is a classic, and with merit. "phase dance" is the second track and most likely the most popular one on the album, with pat now playing the guitar who most uses, and the group presenting one of their key features: an apparently simple musical idea develops into a sometimes apotheotic, but almost always harmonically complex track. the album has six tracks and was produced by manfred eichner, the german jazz visionary and founder of the ecm label.
two additional interesting notes: the track "april joy" already cites "phase dance", quite funny to see in an album, and even in a debut album. and at that time, the group toured extensively with new material and only then went to the studio to record the music, and not the other way around.