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The Way Up

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Corp
  • ASIN: 5559282588
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
A new Pat Metheny Group album always brings with it a knot of anticipation and expectantcy - and not a little trepidation. Seasoned campaigners have become used to acccepting that there is no such thing as a typical Pat Metheny album. But what you always do get is Jazz music in it's widest sense from a musician who understands clearly the language that is "Jazz".
Some of it may be rather unpalatable (the Derek Bailey collaborations) or almost unlistenable (step forward "Zero Tolerance for Silence") but it is always genuinely played and heartfelt.
And so it was that (thanks to a musicaholic friend of mine who must remain anonymous!) I came into the possession of an advance copy and snuck it in the cd player with several music paper reviews that were very promising but rather vague as to the content, ringing in my ears.
Five plays later and I still can't quite put down my thoughts in a way that would mean much to anyone else. It is a truly magnificent, epic, cinematic soundpiece that moves seamlessly through so many emotions - it is a journey, there is no other way of describing it.
With this album, Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays have somehow managed to arrive at a place where many of their previous albums have hinted at, and there are a number of references to earlier works in there in the form of a sound or a brief motif. And it's a great place to be!
It is all compellingly listenable, consumately played, and I just can't wait to see the band perform it live - just imagine the standing ovation after 70 minutes of this amazing .....stuff!
If I have a concern, it is only this: each of the four pieces flow into each other and each piece also develops, ebbs, flows, dives, soars, meanders within itself.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After 2002's "Speaking of Now" - surely the most dull, lifeless and unmemorable PMG group release ever - my expectations were not high that Pat Metheny and co-writer Lyle Mays could recapture the PMG magic shown in earlier classic albums. The main problem with SON seemed to be that after some fairly dramatic personnel changes - drummer Paul Wertico out, Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Cuong Vu (trumpet) in - was that the PMG did not sound like a coherent unit, with the new musicians not integrating with the central unit of Metheny, Mays and Rodby. The compositions on "Speaking Of Now" were uninspired and nothing that hadn't been heard before on other Pat Metheny Group albums. In many ways it seemed just to be going over old ground, and doing it worse.
And now, three years later, we have "The Way Up". The change in those intervening three years has been nothing short of revolutionary. The recording is a single 68-minute piece divided into four movements, a move away from the shorter pieces of previous albums and exhibiting scant regard for commercialism or airtime. You won't be hearing this one very much on the radio.
"The Way Up" is impossible to summarise. Yes, it's jazz, first and foremost. Not easy-listening jazz, not dinner jazz, not even a jazz heard on previous PMG recordings, but a type of jazz heard all too rarely these day : ambitious jazz. Music from the front line. Jazz from the edge. But it's not some awful, experimental atonal racket. It's music of sheer beauty.
Led by Metheny, all the musicians (joined on this outing by harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret) play passionately throughout, and there's an astonishing coherence to the way they interact. Metheny, as ever, is the guiding light; Mays' piano and keyboards, on this recording, are more subtle and less to the fore.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been a big fan of the PMG for a few years now - and it was with great excitement that I played this album on my way to work a few weeks ago - BIG MISTAKE - this isn't really music you can appreciate until you're familiar with it. Consequently, I was left feeling disappointed and a bit 'short-changed'. The 'mini-reviews' on the PMG website only fuelled my excitement and I was tempted to keep searching through the CD with the 'scan' button to find what initial reviews had indicated would be a rewarding experience.
A few weeks on and about 20 full listens all the way through - I LOVE IT - this really is an example of the sum of its 4 parts adding up to a greater whole. I own all the PMG albums, and I've noticed the more I initially 'like' something, the less long-term rewarding it actually is. This is an example of it in reverse and the more I listen the more important this album becomes. I'm now at a stage where it's the only cd I'm playing right now as everything else in comparison just doesn't inspire me in the same way.
Look at the other reviews and you'll see one guy who reviewed this twice, the first time at 2 stars and the second at 4 - and that sums up the approach you need to take with this record. Don't be too harsh on your first listen(s) and keep going back - you won't regret it!
All of the musicians excel on this recording - Metheny himself isn't as prominent as he is on his other albums, where his playing brilliance can dominate at times. If I had to single out a performance, the drumming of Sanchez is totally awesome and drives this record from start to finish.
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