Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Pat Metheny- Unity Band

Unity Band is a grower. 

The latest album by Lee's Summit native Pat Metheny initially seemed like a disappointment.  Only the soaring "Roofdogs," the most direct of the project's selections, seemed memorable upon first listen.  I was a fool not to immediately comprehend how much depth was embedded in every track. 

Focusing solely on drummer Antonio Sanchez's decisions- he's exceptionally busy throughout- or on the exciting pulse provided by bassist Ben Williams is immensely rewarding.  And that's just the rhythm section.  The pairing of brilliant saxophonist Chris Potter and Metheny is inspired.  The most intense moments of "Come and See" resemble a collaboration between Jim Hall and John Coltrane.  Unity Band is filled with such unlikely sounds.  It's a freewheeling album without borders or limitations.

One of the most profound musicians of our time, the prolific Metheny is undeniably "important."  Even so, Unity Band is Metheny's most (relatively) conventional jazz outing since 2008's Day Trip and his most vital jazz-based endeavor since 2007's Metheny/Mehldau Quartet.

Metheny will likely move on to new projects at the conclusion of the current tour.  (The Unity Band performs at the Folly Theater on September 6.)  Hopefully, Metheny will find a way to extend the life of the dynamic quartet beyond the inevitable release of a live album.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

1 comment:

Cb said...

I have been and will always be a Pat Metheny fan forever. I don't think he has put out a "bad" album - ever[.] GENIUS. I can't help but wonder what Logan Richardson would sound like with him in this context though. Might be something beyond. Nothing against the great Mr. Potter on tenor. Just musical curiosity.

[Cb ducks from (sharp) flying objects coming through his monitor screen at him from Plastic Sax readers]