COMPOSERS: Pat Metheny
ALBUM TITLE: Unity Band
WORKS: Unity Band
PERFORMER: Pat Meteheny (guitars, synth), Chris Potter (saxophones, clarinet), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 7559796150
Mild-mannered guitar hero Pat Metheny last led a band that featured saxophones 20 years ago. Back then the ECM recording 80/81 featured the late Dewey Redman and Michael Brecker, also deceased. For this new group set (also performing Metheny originals) he has brought in saxist Chris Potter, who he describes as ‘one of the greatest musicians of our time’. Praise indeed and Potter lives up to the accolade here, reeling out simply astonishingly articulate solo lines that speak directly to Metheny’s power ballads. By contrast, Metheny mostly retains a reserved virtuosity in this plain speaking company and rarely lets his hair down in response to Potter’s outpourings. The casual listener might even think it is actually Potter’s record. But for Metheny’s legion fans it is all here: folksy themes, tender melodic invention and careful song construction. Even the orchestration, Metheny’s guitar-driven acoustic automaton, puts in a bizarre cameo appearance.