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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2007
I have for a long time rated Brad Mehldau as one of the most talented pianists playing jazz today, an opinion formed from many listenings to the "Art of the Trio" series of records. Those discs, comprising a mix of live and studio sets, approach the standards repertoire in a loose, richly swinging way that is a source of great refreshment to those who may perhaps have tired of Keith Jarrett's sound.

This record follows on from the very well received release from last year and the two lead men clearly enjoy each other's musical company. Mehldau is as sensitve an accompanist as he is a leader, and Metheny remains a hugely talented guitarist with a very distinctive sound (although it must be noted that one or two of his synth effects appear not to have changed since his days playing in Michael Brecker's groups of the late '80s and early '90s).

The material on show here is all original, and mixes a broad range of styles very effectively: some is reminiscent of Joanna Macgregor's disc of spirituals with Andy Sheppard in the lilting piano grooves that underpin gently undulating solo lines, whereas others is more vigorously driven by Larry Grenadier on Bass and Jeff Ballard on Drums. Stylistically one might describe the music as lying midway between country and jazz, but that has long been Metheny's preferred hunting-ground, and it is very effective in this group context. In fact, Mehldau's straightforward piano, rather than banks of synthesizers, means Metheny's sometime more synth-led sound enjoys more freedom than if it were enveloped in great clouds of sound. One or two tracks do cut loose a little more (En La Tierra Que No Olvida is a good example), but the music stays well within distinct stylistic bounds.

There can be no criticism of the musicality of all the players on this album, which really is first-rate in every case, but I must admit that, while everything that they do play is brilliantly conceived and executed, I was a little disappointed by what they did not play. At no stage do we really hear Mehldau fire up his engines as he does on his trio discs, nor does the group ever really take great risks with the repertoire. Despite the title, the abiding impression this disc makes is that Mehldau is accompanying Metheny: there is none of the beautifully balanced interplay such as is to be found, for example, on Bill Evans and Jim Hall's "Undercurrent". (However, it should not be forgotten that Brad Mehldau has famously disavowed any influence from Evans!)

Despite these caveats I can thoroughly recommend this CD: the music on it is very good, and it does make for consistently enjoyable listening.
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on 24 August 2007
Not necessarily the best Pat Metheny CD ever but the music contained on MMQ showcases what are, for me, the most personal and satisfying apects of Metheny's playing. The tunes are melodic and the structures lend themselves readily to the Missouri magician's muse. Mehldau is a perfect foil for the older man, in the league of Mays and Hancock, and his rhythm section of Ballard and Grenadier are sympathetic and very much fit for purpose. Ballard particularly shows himself to be musicians dream; dynamic, interactive and subtle.

The material is beautifully rendered and the pace of the CD is a delight. If you like Metheny in a reasonably open blowing session, away from the structures of his work with the Pat Metheny Group, then this is for you. If you like the more conventional aspects of his playing, there if plenty of that but there is room for some of his edgier playing too ('Fear and Trembling'). The 'Metheny synth guitar' makes its appearance.

Linda Manzer's 42-string Pikasso guitar makes an appearance on 'The Sound Of Water' and it is nice to hear this radical instrument beginning to integrate itself into more conventional ensemble playing. 'Don't Wait' is a pretty ballad and both Metheny and Mehldau get to breathe deeply of its treasures. Other highlights are 'En La Terra Que No Olvida', 'Towards The Light' (the patented 'Metheny synth guitar' makes its appearance here) and a revisit to 'Marta's Theme' off 'Passagio Per Il Paradiso'.

A pleasure to listen to and getting better every time!
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on 19 January 2013
This collaboration between Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau is (for the most part) positive and pleasing. Having been familiar with several of Metheny's solo albums as well as his previous collaborations with John Scofield ( 'I Can See Your House From Here')and 'Beyond the Missouri Sky' with Charlie Haden ,I have noticed a familiar pattern throughout these works that are also evident on this particular album .Firstly this album is full of easily recognisable trade mark Metheny guitar playing/synth guitar playing .Also ,similar to the Scofield and ( to a lesser degree) Haden collaborations ,Metheny's compositions tend to be more melodic and musically dominant as witnessed here. Metheny seems to be the dominant force on these collaborations .However, I am not complaining as I enjoy his work.

Mehldau is no doubt a star of modern Jazz scene but for me his writing isn't as convincing as his superb piano skills .There are several strong compositions on this album . The standard of musicianship is top notch but at times a little bit more taste would have improved several of the songs .EG 'Towards the Light' is spoiled to some extent by overly enthusiastic , increasingly riotous playing after a promising beginning ;the synth guitar playing here also tends to undermine some of the songs as far as I am concerned.The strongest songs here for me are all Pat Metheny compositions they include 'A Night Away' .'Don't Wait' , 'Long Before' and 'Silent Movie'.

In conclusion let me state that I have enjoyed playing this album quite frequently over the course of the last several years and I heartily recommend checking out the aforementioned favoured compositions that I have highlighted .
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on 31 October 2007
Let me be clear: I am a BIG Metheny and Mehldau fan. Big. Bought this CD (MMQ) without thinking once.

Right by the CD player now-- Metheny: PAT METHENY GROUP (from 1978, and I still have the cassette I bought almost 30 years ago!), IMAGINARY DAY, NEW CHAUTAUGUA; Mehldau: DAY IS DONE, HOUSE ON HILL, PLACES; Metheny & Mehldau: Michael Brecker's PILGRIMAGE.

And this CD... it's nice... it's pleasant... it's not new age, not elevator music, not smooth jazz... my English friends would say it's lovely... but...

But it's hard to listen to. I've tried. Again and again I find my mind wandering. There's so little to grab the attention, and so the mind goes inward. Great background music for a party. I could work to it all day long.

And I'm disappointed because I thought Metheny's playing on PILGRIMAGE was just wonderful. Mehldau can thrill even in a trio. Yet MMQ? Nice...

Kirtland Peterson
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 November 2011
Seekers after musical adventure or novelty may well be disappointed with this album. For me it's a very solid piece of work. The musicianship is of course excellent, production likewise and the tunes are attractive without being particularly memorable. However, it is more then background music. As the album proceeds You may (like me) find yourself getting drawn into the music - a solo here, a little detail of an arrangement there,so that before long what seemed like bland classy elevator music assumes more solid and enjoyable proportions. Try 'Secret Beach' and you hear a good example of how the whole thing works.The reason I think this particular track stands out is that Pat and Brad get steamed up a little, where as on many other tracks the two principles either are over polite or simply keep out of each others way. Result-Sparks positively refuse to fly and hence listener engagement is somewhat is somewhat compromised on occasion.

So in summation - a nice relaxing album that takes time to get to know.When I first purchased this set I was a unimpressed but now realize that there plenty to enjoy here, just don't expect too much in the way of excitement.
Metheny Mehldau
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on 12 October 2011
I was expecting a major festival of harmonic interplay and a step forward from the PMG formula. After all, this IS the Brad Mahldau Trio with special guest Pat Metheny right? Wrong!
This is Pat Metheny taking over the Mehldau Trio and boxing it into the PMG formula.
Everything here mostly sounds like PMG light. But Brad Mehldau is anything but light. But here he is stifled and rather bland. The wonderful depth usually apparent in his jazz/classical style is not here. No risk taking. The wonderful Mehldau song: 'Secret Beaches' is turned into a rehash of 'Are you going with me?' from PMG lore. Complete with the screaming eagle Metheny solo which goes no where.
Jeff Ballard, usually one of the most interesting of drummers/percussionists, plays more in the PMG style here a la Antonio Sanchez or Paul Wertico. Both excellent drummers, but this is not Ballards' strong suit, but I guess the temptation to play in that formula style was too much.
Larry Grenadier, one of the best on the NY scene, is lost in the mix here. Gone is the deep, sonorus, strong bassist of Mehldaus' trio.
I quickly gave my copy of Quartet away and went back to 'Day is Done' and 'Live at the Village vanguard' from Mehldau and the differenece in the quality and approach is stunning.
As great a player as Metheny is, here in this setting he sounds 'past his prime.' No longer relevant in comparison to where Mehldau has taken music in the last few years. You've heard all these PM solos too many times. Is he unable to reinvent himself?
Save your dimes.
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on 13 February 2008
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on 28 November 2014
Yeah . Something else
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