Pat Metheny: Rejoicing (ECM 1271)

 

Pat Metheny
Rejoicing

Pat Metheny guitars
Charlie Haden bass
Billy Higgins drums
Recorded November 29 and 30, 1983 at Power Station, New York
Engineer: Jan Erik Kongshaug
Produced by Manfred Eicher

Those of you who, like me, hold Bright Size Life in high esteem as one of Pat Metheny’s best can take comfort in this, his second trio album for ECM, even if the presence of Ornette Coleman’s onetime rhythm section of bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins creates an entirely different result. As on the scratched cover, the names are distinct to a careful eye, but eventually comingle into a unified sound that bubbles with color and shades of intensity.

The session saunters into our hearts with an arresting version of Horace Silver’s “Lonely Woman.” Metheny’s acoustic leads a supremely attuned Haden, who plunks the ether like a giant rubber band as Higgins rustles an autumn’s worth of leaves with his brushes. It is through this play of light and shadow that we find solace in “Tears Inside,” a strangely upbeat affair for which Metheny breaks out the subtle sere of his electric. “Humpty Dumpty” is an even more visceral jaunt through storybook phrasings and fluid guitar licks. The short but sweet title track completes the Coleman half of the album and features some dexterous runs, matched step for step by Higgins’s cymbal work and Haden’s own nimble jaunts. Higgins has one of the most precise snares in the business, as evidenced in his solo. Haden stretches an unassuming flair in “Blues For Pat,” which also boasts Metheny’s most present solo on the album and more percolating beats from Higgins. “Story From A Stranger” reprises Metheny’s shimmering acoustic, which glistens with a backcountry charm, seeping like morning light into a log cabin of secrets. Against this perfect backdrop, Metheny’s soloing reaches some of its most revelatory ever recorded. Another Metheny original, “Waiting For An Answer,” makes for an enigmatic, arco-laden closer.

The album’s only misstep is “The Calling,” the synth guitar of which doesn’t quite jive with me (though flashes of brilliance do appear, as in the ascent at 7:20). And while I do appreciate the improvisatory spirit behind this track, I only wish it had been more properly amped, for at nearly 10 minutes it throws off the delicate balance of its surroundings. But don’t let this one personal caveat deter you from basking in the beauties of those surroundings.

Incidentally, one of engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug’s finer accomplishments.

2 thoughts on “Pat Metheny: Rejoicing (ECM 1271)

  1. Non siamo in grado di prevedere che futuro avrà il jazz, ma conosciamo bene chi lo salvò dall’oblio alla fine degli anni Settanta: tra gli altri, Pat Metheny. Con la fusion ormai rancida, punk e “disco” dilaganti e la lobotomia collettiva imposta dalla radio, una forma d’arte appena complessa o autentica era diventata intollerabile. In nostro soccorso, l’impavido chitarrista di Lee’s Summit scavò una via di fuga praticamente sotto il culo di “lor signori”, presentandosi in completo zazzera/jeans/T-shirt e riproponendo il genuino spirito dell’improvvisazione con lo strumento rock per eccellenza. Capito il trucchetto? Un capellone che suonava “free”. L’effetto era spiazzante, ma funzionò. L’interesse per il repertorio di Ornette Coleman aveva già prodotto due splendide interpretazioni in trio: 1) il medley Round Trip / Broadway Blues, inciso con Jaco Pastorius sull’esordio ECM Bright Size Life; 2) il blues “libero” di Turnaround ripreso sul capolavoro 80/81. Affidandosi a una sezione ritmica di per sé rappresentativa [Charlie Haden (contrabbasso); Billy Higgins (batteria)], nel 1983 Metheny redige il manifesto delle proprie principali influenze: tre classici di Ornette Coleman e uno standard del catalogo Blue Note. Apparse per la prima volta su Tomorrow Is The Question!, le meravigliose Tears Inside e Rejoicing rivivono sulle corde della Gibson ES-175, tramandando ai posteri la sovversiva teoria “armolodica” concepita dall’autore. Dal sublime This Is Our Music riemerge l’ineffabile tema di Humpty Dumpty, riletto con maestria dall’epigono e dai due allievi del maestro texano. Lonely Woman* è una ballad di Horace Silver tratta dal suo album più famoso (Song For My Father), in cui il pianoforte della versione originale è sostituito dalla chitarra acustica, per un arrangiamento di inarrivabile profondità espressiva. Blues For Pat, Story From A Stranger, The Calling sanciscono, rispettivamente, la padronanza del fraseggio, l’innato senso della melodia, il gusto della ricerca che anticipa le temerarie cacofonie di Zero Tolerance For Silence e The Sign Of 4. [P.S. – *Da non confondere con l’omonima, celebre pagina di Ornette Coleman (The Shape Of Jazz To Come).]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s