The Way Up

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Pat Metheny Group
LABELS: Nonesuch
WORKS: The Way Up
PERFORMER: Pat Metheny Group
CATALOGUE NO: 7559 79876

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Pat Metheny’s elliptical journey from middlebrow fusioneer via all manner of other influences back to somewhere like his point of departure has been fascinating to observe. Along the way, the guitarist has worked with improviser Derek Bailey and composer Steve Reich, whose musical philosophies are surely diametrically opposed, yet Metheny’s try-anything-once phase seems to have served him well, with no hint of partisanship.

Well, perhaps there’s a little; The Way Up, which is presented as one large composition in four chunks, carries a note of thanks to Reich, and perhaps there’s a trace of his influence in the interlocking keyboard parts (Lyle Mays is in fine fettle here) and in the structural density of much of the music.

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Unfortunately, this is largely burned up in the first ten minutes or so, and it’s a little disappointing to hear the band relying on fusion fallbacks as the album progresses. Mixed. Roger Thomas