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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 7 August 2009
This was my first Pat Metheny purchase many years ago and I immediately fell in love with the type of music he produced. Having recently bought the CD version I can honestly say that I still love it as much now as I did 20 years ago. If this is not his best then it is certainly one of them. Quality never goes out of style!
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on 31 March 2017
One of this artists best albums.
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on 8 March 2017
Great product in excellent condition thanks
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It took me a while to warm to this release after First Circle, and it wasn't till I read an interview with Pat that I bagan to understand why. First Circle had been very much about perfecting, to a point, the uniquely sophisticated symphonic composition aspect of the Metheny/Mays writing partnership. This album, by comparison, was compositionally more straightforward and provided Metheny with a chance to get back to his guitar improvisational roots.

Not that there is no compositional ambition to the album. The leading track, 'Minuano', includes a very harmonically challenging Synth/Marimba counterpoint break, but the song is just a hugely powerful whoop of delight that frames an immaculate Metheny guitar solo.

Next, 'So May it Secretly Begin' is a layed back, and very simple tune, in perfect contrast to the energy that has gone before, but layed back in the way of a mighty wave building to crash, sparkling on a tropical shore. Perfect solos again from both Pat and Lyle.

Last Train Home will strike a chord with anyone who has waited in the cold for some kind of transport to arrive after a great night out. The underlying pulse is both exhilerating and comforting at the same time. Pat gets out a new sitar like guitar sound for this one.

The next three tracks just seem to blend into each other with great solos, amazing synth sounds, and a constantly building bedrock of percussion, where by the end just about anything that can be banged is pounded by the incredible Brazillian percussionist, Armando Marcal, and the stalwart vocal/multi-intrumentalists, David Blamires and Mark Ledford. As with all the most exciting PMG tracks there is no way for this sequence to finish but on a sudden, startling crash.

While the album is very much about soloing, it is also about immaculate solo construction, none being too long or too short. All are just right.

The final track 'In Her Family' is the only subdued track on the whole disc. It is a strange yet beautiful chamber piece that sounds like Bill Evans meets Bela Bartok.

There is no better start to a working day, than to whack this in the car player and then set off into the sunshine, with this turned up loud as the system will let you, and to sing yourself hoarse with the amazing vocal themes that provide the skeleton to most of these songs.

A final curious point about this album. I have seen it frequently on the shelves of people who are not otherwise hardcore PMG fans. I put this down to the fact that it is not as musically demanding whilst being incredibly uplifting.

In an age dominated by angst ridden, minor key Gothic (in the wider cultural sense) sensibilities, Pat and his amazing Group make a stand for the joy of life and living. In that mission there are no holds barred on this release.
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on 30 April 2007
A beautifully crafted cd from one of the greatest orchestrated outfits in what is loosely called the jazz canon. 'Still Life (Talking)' could probably be better described as Latin jazz although that probably confuses as much as the jazz label that is often attached to Metheny's work. The Metheny Group is not one of these thrown together outfits that get together for a session only to disband after a handful of live dates. The outfit is a finely tuned and well established ensemble that has grown with the composing skills of its two main contributors, Metheny and keyboard player/pianist Lyle Mays.

'Minuano (6/8)' is, for me at least, the highlight. The piece is a tour de force of subtle grooves, delicate rhythms, simple, effective harmonies and gentle timbres. It builds from a whisper to a strong finale and travels through a range of textures; the 'marimba' section in the middle, a Mays contribution, is beautifully paced and evolves into a harmonically complex and profoundly sophisticated counterpoint that dares the listener to give it anything but his/her undivided attention.

The second track, 'So It May Secretly Begin', has a slightly more conventional feel but is immediately identifiable as the Metheny Group. 'Last Train Home' is the 'hit single' (the piece even had a video that appeared on VH1, featuring the leader in his best, blue eyed, 'Richard Clayderman' mode). A simple bass pedal note and train rhythm snare drum underpinning a nicley phrased sitar guitar defines the piece but this is no Indo-fusion jam, just a melodic tribute to the distant trains Metheny heard as a youth in Lee's Summit, Missouri (Metheny was 18 before he ever even saw the sea).

'Third Wind' is another exciting track with a startling guitar break that a generation of players has tried (and failed) to transcribe! The closing ballad, 'In Her Family', is a classic and beautifully crafted Metheny acoustic piece.

Musicians include Steve (why use three notes when one will do?) Rodby on bass, drummer Paul Wertico (with Metheny's requisite Zildjan cymbals), Mark Ledford & David Blamires(it is their vocals that define 'Minuano') and Armando Marcal (percussion, vocals etc).

Overall, a beautifully paced CD with some profoundly exciting moments balanced against some quality composition, orchestration and musicianship. Highly recommended for those listeners with even an ounce of soul. The CD won the 1988 Grammy for Best Jazz Fusion Performance - and deservedly so.
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on 27 November 2010
This is, in my opinion, the PM Group's best album. It's beautiful to put it simply. Lyle Mays piano is gorgeous, Metheny's bebop lines are executed with care and feel and not at the expense of the gentle and dreamy character of the music. A late night beauty of a record or one for having people round for dinner, either way a gentle and unassuming masterpiece that grows on you with each listen. Buy now!
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on 13 June 2011
I had this album on vinal for years and it was played so often that the tracks were so thin it only came out on high days and holidays

do I pick out individual tracks or just say listen to all 7 - its difficult

one I cant do but two mmmmmmmm

perhaps So May It Secretly Begin for Pat stunning playing and Distance for Lyle Mays this reminds me so much of his own album 'Street Dreams'

The group post Nana Vasconcellos is not his best but the album is

go out and buy it
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on 4 January 2011
Recorded in New York 1987. This is another brilliant recording for the Pat Metheny Group. This time with Armando Marcal galvanizing the rhythm with his outstanding percussion. ' So may it secretly begin' ' Last train home' and '(it's just) talk' are examples of a group at the height of their recording history.
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on 7 June 2009
This album is incfredibly listen-to-able. I heard 'Minuano' as an 'inheritance track' choice of Goldie on a radio 4 programme and was so impressed I decided to seek it out. Having done so and after having listened to it, I will look at other work by the Pat Metheny Group. I'm sure I won't be disappointed.
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on 2 December 2012
Minuano and Third Wind stand out for me. The first has a deliciously atmospheric opening. The second is an exuberant celebration. Both just sweep you away like a tidal wave. The textures and lyricism Pat Metheny creates with percussion and vocal chorus backing his guitar show he is a master of composition. His music always keeps you interested. I love this album!
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