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.)