Imaginary Day

COMPOSERS: Metheny
LABELS: Warner
ALBUM TITLE: Pat Metheny Group
PERFORMER: Metheny (g); Lyle Mays (kbd); Steve Rodby (b); Paul Vertico (d); Mark Ledford (v, tpt, flug); David Blamires (v, mellophone, g, vn, rec, tpt); Mino Cinelu, David Samuels, Glen Velez, Don Alias (perc)
CATALOGUE NO: 9362-46791-2

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Pat Metheny inspires extraordinary loyalty in his listeners, keeping their devotion alive on a diet of virtuosic yet breezily accessible albums. Typically, his work blends elements of rock, jazz and Latin music into an utterly distinctive sound in which subtleties of texture and timbre are at least as important as the showcasing of his own considerable guitar-playing prowess.

On this, the band’s 12th album, the formula remains largely unchanged; Metheny’s central quartet rings the changes between soft, jazzy chugs, light shuffles and grandiloquent anthems, while the band’s ‘wild cards’, David Blamires and Mark Ledford, embellish and enrich the sound-mix, ornamenting it with startling vocal interjections or bursts from their various instruments.

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With the whole alternately buoyed up or propelled by the work of the four stellar percussionists, Imaginary Day is Metheny’s most interesting group recording for some time – characteristically joyous and positive, yet intelligently programmed, and varied enough in both its dynamic and textural range to engage the brain as well as lift the spirits. Chris Parker