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on 5 January 2002
I confess that the opening tune 'Are You Going With Me' has long been a dependable drug free stress release companion. Its two minute intro by the entire ensemble softly builds an atmosphere that suggests something truly ground breaking is about to be unleashed. It is in the form of the most innovitive guitar sound of its time. It is easy to mistake Pat's guitar for an harmonica at first until it becomes gradually apparent that not even the genius of Larry Adler could conjure up sounds of this dimension. Once a trombonist Pat's unique guitar phrasing reminds me more of a brass instument and at times mimics the sound of a singing whale.
This is probably their most widely appreciated anthem which lays the ground for a euphoric musical voyage of alternating exhileration and relaxation which makes the trip the most pleasurable musical journey I have endured.
Steve Rodby, now installed on bass with a less complex sound than his predessors, and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, adding a Brazillian flavour have realy kicked the band into a new stride on these 1982 live recordings.
Disc one winds down with the exquisite slow classical style that is 'Farmers Trust'.
Disc two strides out purposefully with the contemplative 'Extradition', followed by the lullaby,'Going Ahead' before the storm, 'Wichita Falls' a menacingly turbulent tune, resolved by the serene calmness of 'Travels'.
'Song for Bilbao' is a fanfare for the safe return of thr musicians at their journy's end.
This remarkable exploration closes with a track from their trio days,'San Lorenzo' as a reflection and modest but majestic celebration of this fantastic trip.
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I became aware of Pat Metheny from the TV screening of Joni Mitchell - Shadows and Light, during which this young guy went into a guitar solo whose tone and phrasing were like nothing heard before on Earth. I had always responded to music visually and did not yet know that this condition was called synaesthesia, and to this day feel sorry for those who cannot share this experience. With Pat's solo it was like someone was painting the whole sky with a huge brush of liquid silver, accompanied by a feeling of utter tenderness and compassion. (No drugs, honest)

Soon after, a friend of mine tracked down this album, Travels, and my first hearing was of the majestic opening track, Are you Going With Me? surging from his open attic window, across the rooftops of Leeds Bedsit land (he'd probably have got an ASBO now), and immediately knew who it was without having to be told, just from the pictures going off in my head. Are you Going with Me?, features a guitar sound, again unlike anything heard before. Like Whale song from Saturn. It was actually a midi guitar hooked up to a synth, but it was the first time I'd heard a midi guitar used to make real music and not just as a gimmick. Even twenty years later, whenever I drive west, into a sunset, this is what goes on the car player.

The next song, The Trees, The Sky is just that. Swooping over endless mountains and valleys of trees, and err..., sky. There is a country bluegrass element here, but amalgamated with jazz of the utmost sophistication, a combination not quite like anything heard before.

After that we get what for me is the best of the best - Goodbye. This track is compositionally the most sophisticated on the album. I would defy anyone with a bit of musical nous (even quite a bit actually) to figure out how the chords are moving in this piece. It is all over the place, and yet with nothing harsh in it at all, just infinite kindness. This is a backing for a guitar solo that just climbs and climbs until you've nowhere else to go but out of the top of your own head. Then you are bought back down to Earth as gently as a feather.

The next two songs, Phase Dance and Straight on Red, are very lively, upbeat songs that feature the stereo phasing that was another Metheny signature guitar sound. They also feature great solos from Lyle Mays, my favourite pianist of the modern jazz age, and Pat's writing partner, whose spirit and musical values are so uncannily close to his own.

Disc 1 ends with the lovely Farmer's Trust. Another one with a touch of bluegrass but with a feeling of a six in the morning walk through a misty farmscape, with the land just waking up around you.

The second disc has more fine songs, with gorgeous solos from both Pat and Lyle throughout, but the standout for me is the twenty minute-ish re-visioning of their amazing title piece from the earlier As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls album. Whereas the album version was a subtly ethereal ambient affair, for the live performance it was turned into the sonic equivalent of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The piece again abounds with sounds the like of which had not been heard before. Polynesian bell tones, strange melting glissandos, phased shimmerings and walls of sparkles. It's an absolute conceptual masterpiece that shows up the tedious experiments of the Stockhausens and Cages for the vacuous nonsense they are. Disc 2 ends with the beautiful and tender San Lorenzo, which includes what is arguably the best of Lyle's piano solos on the whole set.

There is nothing of anger or harshness in these pieces. No teenage angst or existential maunderings. As such, they won't have mass appeal in our age of unrest. However, there is excitement, there is an exhilaration and joy, and there is kindness and compassion. These songs provide a soundtrack for the lives of those who know that the world is truly beautiful, despite its darkness, and for whom each day is a blessing. As such, that makes this music with a truly spiritual dimension.
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on 23 September 2006
If you could pick one album to have with you at all times - pick this one. Travels is a musical journey through many styles - composed by an artist who has pure genius and performed by musicians who actually care about music. I'm not going to pick out individual tracks, as the sum of the tracks together is what makes it so great. The inspiration for many of the tracks seems to come from the great mid-western landscapes of Missouri - it is easy to imagine those landcapes as you listen to this album. For any mood, occasion, this album is as good as music gets. The soundtrack for my life. Buy it any shelve your other cds.
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on 23 February 2009
I first heard pat metheny via Joni Mitchell's "Shadows & Light" tour which was shown on BBC 2 way back when. On the program a young guitarist called Pat metheny played a short solo guitar piece. From there i fell in love with the soundworld of Mr Metheny. After seeing him live half a dozen times and 40 albums later i still can't get enough.

Travels was the first album i bought of his and to be honest along with "80/81" and "First Circle" it is still my favourite.

There is a diverse collection of songs on this 2 cd live set culled from an american tour in the early 80's and a plethora of guitar tones ranging from the guitar synthesiser to his jazz hollow body.

Special guest percussionist nana vasconcelos adds much texture and rythmic pulse to these pieces and his gruff earthy voice on a couple of tracks lends itself beautifully to the ambient textures.

To cut short this is an amazing album with sensitive performances by all the group. It took me a few listens to really get into this but it is a highly rewarding album which is accessible but begs repeated listenings.

Metheny and co make their music making sound easy which couldn't be further from the truth. The group really enjoy their music making.
Highly recomended.
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on 8 November 2011
What can one add to the high praise that the other reviewers have already given? It's exactly as they have already described, a sublime recording that covers much ground and from a period also. I'm sure that if you've never got round to discovering Pat Metheny (and Lyle Mays (kbds), an essential part of the group sound and compositions) then this is definitely the place to start.

You won't get a better look at what made Metheny such a 'jazz' household name than this recording. The other thing to mention is that for once you get a chance to really hear Lyle Mays stretch out on acoustic piano, which wasn't often the case on the individual albums by the 4tet.

Highly recommended.

.... if you love this record and Metheny in general it's very worthwhile looking out Mays' own records such as Lyle Mays [Us Import]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 February 2012
If you only want one album of Pat in his world music mode then this set comes highly recommended. This is one of the few live albums (rock or jazz) were the excitement of the concert is fully transmitted without sacrificing the subtle beauty and complexity of the original compositions.You'll have gathered from other reviewers that this is terrific piece of work -musically sophisticated,moving from highly rhythmic tracks to more romantic pieces and offering the occasional extended composition such as the ethereal 'As Falls Wichita..' that take Pat and the band into the world of the cinematic and atmospheric rather then the usually mellifluous Brazilian flavored tunes are generally on offer here.

This album is great for extended car journeys, general relaxation at home or for more concentrated listening.
What ever your preference this double set works very well. Of course Pat produces many a great guitar solo and Lyle Mays adds real depth to the proceeding with his multi-textured synthersizer contributions. The standout
musician for my money though is Nana Vasconcelos, who really sends the band's music into the realms of the exotic with his vocal and percussion work.The production job is first rate, the tracks well chosen and the performances neigh on faultless.
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on 18 December 2013
The previous reviews have said it all. This is about as good as live albums get. It was interesting to see how many people discovered Pat Metheny through Pat's Solo on Shadows and Light. This beautiful solo was brought to my attention by a local musician in Cairns, Australia. He said; "This guy's name is Pat Metheny. He might be worth listening out for." Later, in London, I heard the familiar sound of Metheny's guitar in my workplace on Capital Radio. Amazingly, they were organising Pat Metheny's concert (Capital Radio!). I must have seen him 20 times since. His outfits are the "tightest" when playing live that I have heard. They have studio levels of precision and this album is no exception. Tragically I owned this on vinyl when vinyl was cheap but it has been lost. It is great to have this music again.
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on 3 March 2013
There are many outstanding albums in music that everyone should have in there collection,if you dont have this one,go and buy it,you wont regret it,ive been listening to it for years and even now it still amazes me,probably all at there best even though very young and Pat has done much more since then,its just a cosmic mix of jazz,country,jazz fusion/rock you name it all mixed together and each track will make you think "ive been waiting for you all my life-where have you been?" i can only describe it as the best live album ever made and i know there has been many more in different categories but for sheer enjoyment that everyone will love this album takes some beating,your a genius Pat/lyle and this proves it
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on 1 June 2007
The textures and soundscapes created by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays (with the tremendous addition of Nana Vasconcelos) make this an unforgettable journey into the pleasant depths of what modern instrumental (jazz?) music can be.
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on 6 February 2016
Methenys best earlier CD . Great 2 disc production . Good introduction to his music .
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