(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Unity Village” (1976)

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Here we have Pat’s solo guitar remembrance of weekend gigs at the Unity School of Christianity. The church was a part of the Metheny family history as both his dad and his brother had played in the church’s Unity Village Band.

The architecture of “Unity Village” is fairly simple, split between two guitars: one playing the changes (and later comping) and the other playing variations on the head. This might make it sound like a “normal” jazz tune but here we have an early example of what sets Metheny apart: while he takes a few passes through those changes, his lines sound less like improvisations threaded through harmonic structures than a through-composed melodic story. Later in his career Pat would say that his music, taken in total, is in many ways one long song. That song starts here.

The trio version presented below is obviously structed differently but hey, when you can have Jaco comping for you (and soloing later), why not?!

A point of trivia: true jazz nerds will know what “Unity Village” was a part of the legendary “Real Book,” appearing as “Exercise #6.”

Up next: Missouri Uncompromised

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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