(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Round Trip / Broadway Blues” (1976)

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Bright Size Life concludes with Pat finally tipping his hand on his love for Ornette Coleman. The trip rips through two selections from New York Is Now, first with a fairly straight reading of “Round Trip,” followed by a driving segment of “Broadway Blues.” Pat and company had some big shoes to fill here as that particular Ornette album, something of an outlier in his catalog, was made with the absolutely stellar lineup of Jimmy Garrison on bass, the great Elvin Jones on drums, with Ornette and Dewey Redman on saxes.

The solo segments on “Round Trip” are particularly exhilarating, with Pat taking the first slot as Ornette did on the original. He begins with a few short descending arpeggios before jumping in with full force. In many interviews Metheny has spoken of sometimes modeling his lines after horn players and that approach is evident here. Pat’s improvisations here are not particularly “guitaristic,” with a lot of space to breathe left between the diving and darting runs. Pat hands off the solo stage to Jaco and Moses with a restatement of the theme, with the great bass player going on to reveal some harmonic chambers you just never knew were present in this composition.

Seemingly amped up by “Round Trip,” the group then runs joyously through “Broadway Blues.” While not nearly as funky as the Ornette version, it certainly does not lack for enthusiasm.

Up next: Watercolors

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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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