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Quartet [Original recording remastered]

Pat Metheny Audio CD

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The year 2013 has been a banner one for Pat Metheny. After being awarded his 20th Grammy, for Unity Band, and the release of his critically acclaimed recording of Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels, Vol. 20, Metheny received word that the readers of DownBeat magazine had voted to induct him into its Hall of Fame. Not only is Metheny the youngest member, but he is also only the fourth jazz ... Read more in Amazon's Pat Metheny Store

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. IntroductionPat Metheny Group0:560.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. When We Were FreePat Metheny Group 5:390.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. MontevideoPat Metheny 2:550.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Take Me TherePat Metheny Group 3:390.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Seven DaysPat Metheny Group 4:040.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. OceaniaPat Metheny Group 3:470.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Dismantling UtopiaPat Metheny Group 6:520.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Double BlindPat Metheny Group 4:150.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Second ThoughtPat Metheny Group 2:500.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. MojavePat Metheny 3:370.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. BadlandPat Metheny Group 7:310.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. GlacierPat Metheny Group 1:250.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Language of TimePat Metheny Group 7:330.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Sometimes I SeePat Metheny Group 5:160.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. As I AmPat Metheny Group 5:490.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Pat Metheny Group Quartet [Remastered]

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stripped down genius... 31 Jan 2008
By D. Fike - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The most under-composed and open-ended record of the Pat Metheny Group discography, this relatively lickety-split recording has been considered by cynics to be nothing more than a contractual obligation record--the last recording Metheny made for Geffen before moving to Warner Bros. and releasing Imaginary Day (Warner Bros., 1997). It's an album that, along with the recent The Way Up, could be considered one of the group's most revolutionary records to date.

Dismissing Quartet as nothing more than a contractual obligation record is as unfair as considering We Live Here to be nothing more than smooth jazz. Coming off a world tour to promote We Live Here, Metheny took the core quartet-- himself, Mays, bassist Steve Rodby and Wertico--into the studio to record what is undeniably the most oblique and free record the group has ever made. With the exception of the title track from Offramp (ECM, 1981) and "Scrap Metal"--a live staple that's never found its way onto a Metheny Group studio record--Quartet is about as loose and under-produced as it gets.

That's not to say there aren't glimmers of Metheny's rich melodicism. The brief rubato "Introduction" and poignant waltz "When We Were Free" are as compelling as anything he's written. But given the more produced nature of Pat Metheny Group, these tunes and others including the dark ballad "Seven Days" and the Midwestern-inflected "Sometimes I See," feel as though they'd be more at home on one of his non-Pat Metheny Group records. Still, it's a testimonial to his core quartet that they feel completely at home in this less-confined context.

Wertico is a player whose reach extends beyond the Pat Metheny Group's more listener-friendly aesthetic, as has already been proven on albums including Sign of Four (Knitting Factory, 1996)--with Metheny, percussionist Gregg Bendian and the late free jazz guitarist Derek Bailey--and Bang! (Truemedia Jazzworks, 1996)--a challenging set of percussion duets, again with Bendian. Equally, Mays has proven greater breadth and open-mindedness on his own recordings, in particular Solo: Improvisations For Expanded Piano (Warner Bros., 2000).

But perhaps the biggest surprise is Rodby. He rarely solos, but he's been a remarkably flexible anchor for Metheny since joining the band in 1980--the kind of dependable player who is rarely in the spotlight, but has the remarkably consistent ability to find the right note at just the right time. On Quartet he gets the opportunity to work on a larger playing field, from the understated power of "Take Me There," where his resonant bass works in perfect consonance with Wertico to keep things bubbling underneath Metheny's rapid-fire exchange, to the brooding "Oceana," where he gets a rare opportunity to be the front-man, eloquently stating its simple theme.

Elsewhere there are pieces fashioned from free improvisations and the barest of sketches, like "Montevideo," which begins with a sound more akin to something one would hear on an Evan Parker or Derek Bailey record, but gradually morphs into a groove-based jam and, ultimately, a brief but change-based solo spot for Mays--and all this in just under three minutes.

"Dismantling Utopia" is an equally episodic piece that brings together a series of seemingly disparate ideas. Beginning with a curious repeated figure from Metheny on a number of layered guitars, and an abstract theme from Mays, a curiously cacophonic solo from Wertico leads into a more settled but still abstruse melody from Metheny, before breaking down into total free play that, at times, feels more in keeping with contemporary classical music. It's likely that these two collage-like pieces are the product of judicious editing, but the end results feel as though they were intended to be this way from the very beginning.

For those who have preconceived and narrow ideas about what the Pat Metheny Group is about, a good suggestion would be to take some time to revisit the path from Pat Metheny Group (ECM, 1978) to The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005). The fact is that, while there's always been a strong compositional emphasis, the group's evolution has seen it experiment with a diversity of forms.

We Live Here and Quartet are just two of them but, in their own way, their stylistic breadth makes a strong case for the Pat Metheny Group as jazz's most successful group to combine accessibility with a daring sense of adventure. The clearly voracious musical appetites of original members Metheny and Mays--along with longstanding member Rodby and anyone else who happens to be in a particular incarnation of the group at any given time--have resulted in a body of work where few, if any, boundaries exist, while at the same time forging a unique identity that's instantly recognizable from the first note.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Anarchy 5 Jan 2010
By Ben Weeks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's a difficult listen at times, but it's fun to hear metheny and his fellow tricksters doing analogue avant garde.
There are a few memorable and fun tracks as well, even though it's often a chaotic album, it's a lot of fun.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of PMG's best recordings 26 July 2008
By Todd Ebert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Before buying this recording I had my sights set low, thinking that less (e.g. the absence of vocals by someone like Mark Ledford or Pedro Aznar, and the emphasis on acoustical instruments) would indeed lead to less. But nothing can be further than my truth about this brilliant recording. For one, having the band captured playing in a more loose, spontaneous format provides a rare glimpse, albeit just as creative and poetic in vision as the more standard pmg sound we tend to expect. It's hard to know where to begin describing this work, so here's a short list some of things I love about this recording:
i) The beautiful "oceania" (in particular Steve Rodby's bass playing and Metheny's brilliant use of the synth guitar)

ii) The musical silence and space that one hears (or does not hear!) in "mojave", "badland", and "glacier". These are three of my favorites, and if you've ever been to the badlands or mojave desert, you'll hopefully better appreciate these tunes and realize the genious behind them. Compare these tracks to some of the stuff from Coltrane's "meditations". In some sense they will seem like opposites (in that Coltrane was trying paint every spot on the canvass) but the expansiveness and meditative nature of both works for me at least imply a vast similarity. Note also how these longer, contemplative tunes complement so well the celebratory "language of time", and the gorgeous guitar solo provided by Metheny on that track.

iii) "double blind" for many of the same reasons for ii). Again note Coltrane's and Ornette Coleman's influence here.
iv) The last two tunes, "sometimes i see" and "as i am" are good examples of Metheny at his lyrically best on guitar.

With all this said, I can also see why many PMG fans may not enjoy this cd, simply because not every (in fact most) listener wants to hear something that demands so much attention and takes time to absorb and appreciate. I love Coltrane's "meditations", but I know that many listeners believe this is where he went of the deep end. No, it's where he went deep, searching for his personal musical truth which has no end.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stripped Down and Revved Up 29 July 2009
By Karl W. Nehring - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Metheny fans expecting the flowing lyricism and lush tonal palette of the previous several Pat Metheny Group (PMG) recordings were in for a surprise with this release. The title is the first clue, because this is music by the musical core of the PMG: Metheny (guitar), Mays (keyboards), Rodby (bass), and Wertico (drums). Absent from Quartet are the extra percussionists, trumpeters, and vocalists of the extended PMG of the past several recordings; in addition, most of the cuts have more of an acoustic sonic flavor, less heavy on the synth sound and samples. Add to this the distinct impression that some of the pieces sound like spontaneous jams rather than carefully arranged compositions, and the net result is an atypical PMG recording that is nonetheless quite entertaining in its own right. Actually, it is kind of refreshing to hear the band stripped down this way, and the musicianship never flags from start to finish.

The liner notes boast that Quartet is the "world's first 24-bit digital recording." Well, it is still mastered down to a 16 bits for CD release, so I'm not quite sure exactly why I am supposed to be impressed. The sound is quite good--just like the previous sub-24-bit Geffen recordings of the band. At any rate, Quartet is an interesting musical diversion for the PMG, and although a few fans might be put off by the relatively spare texture of the arrangements, other fans will find this the best PMG recording yet precisely because of the spare texture of the arrangements. You can't please all of the people all of the time...
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Remasterd? 28 May 2006
By Dario Penaloza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
One big question. Who said this album needs to be remaster?

This is one of the most natural sounding albums there is, meaning you dont hear compression or equalisation. You could hear the minimalistic micking technique that Rob Eaton used only 10 years ago in the first full 24 bits album.

You should write who does the remaster if that is so important.
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