This is one of my favourite records. It is Pat Metheny in his finest and freshest form; recorded in 1976 before he was really famous, it is an uncomplicated trio of guitar, electric bass and drums. The two others making up the trio were themselves to go on to great things: drummer Bob Moses was already in the Gary Burton Quintet and bound for jazz stardom, and Metheny's guitar is complimented (and in parts even outplayed) by the late, great Jaco Pastorius.
Uncomplicated, though is far from straightforward, and in this album it is three soloists, rather than a close-knit ensemble feel that pervades. Despite being only 45 mins in length, the eight tracks explore the widest range of versatility from all three. Metheny's now legendary smooth sound can still swing like a train, and the post-bop style rushes of "Missouri Uncompromised" and "Unquity Road" are as hard and straight-ahead East Coast as these three giants will get. They even have time and space for Ornette Coleman's "Round Trip/Broadway Blues" (more post-bop pyrotechnics), although it is Pastorius who impresses most, I must say.
The ballads are amazingly good. "Midwestern Night's Dream" is the longest track of the album, and it fades out with you sitting there wishing it didn't. "Unity Village" likewise, although that piece Metheny alone, overdubbed. There is some overdubbing in the album, but it is unobtrusive and very effective. Particularly impressive is Pastorius's ability to overlay the same fretless bass line on top of a previous take. The sound colour achieved is quite lovely.
I must also praise the sleeve notes. Written by Gary Burton, they are a joy to read. Talking of his doubts about Metheny on their first meeting, he writes: "Well, you just can't help liking this kid...an incredible blend of Missouri, hip, chops and all those teeth!". Enjoy.