(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Lakes” (1977)

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It’s not a constant presence on this album, but as mentioned when we discussed the title track on Watercolors, what would become the sound of “The Group” begins to establish itself. “Lakes” takes us in that direction.

The introduction isn’t really your standard jazz fare, with what amounts to the head being restated through three repeated sets of changes before Pat adds a little conclusion to that theme. It actually reminds me of how verses of pop tunes are constructed. Underneath Metheny’s guitar with have Lyle’s piano in very close support and the great Eberhard Weber lacing in very long bass lines — sort of Jaco, sort of not.

From there we have an extended Pat solo that really leans more toward a group improvisation, Yes, they’re all following the changes but the comping is so open and relaxed that it’s easy to forget that the guitar is being featured. The same can be said for when Lyle takes a solo later on. And that is one of the keys to the sound of “The Group” — Pat Metheny’s main instrument is the guitar, but for him it’s just a vehicle for what really matters: the story being told.

Up next: River Quay

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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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