(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Suite: I. Florida Greeting Song” (1977)

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Pat Metheny has always held drummers and percussionists in high regard — the key components of an ensemble. Looking back at his career, it’s not hard too see the evidence: Danny Gottlieb, Jack DeJohnette, Paul Wertico, Roy Haynes, Antonio Sanchez. Wow.

A perfect example of how Pat works with his drummer can be found on the Metheny Trio duet “Go (Get It).” With both musicians implying the harmony/rhythm as the partner plays, it’s easy to forget that just two people are performing. So many years earlier, “Suite: I. Florida Greeting Song” finds Danny Gottlieb setting up dynamic walls of rhythm that free Metheny to construct a melodic story that can easily stand on its own.

It’s interesting to see how this approach draws the listener in to the non-technical aspects of the musical construct. A complete idea emerges, even though some of the traditional elements are only implied. The “rules” exist to guide harmonic development. Some see them as a optional constraints, while others treat them at necessary borders.

On “Florida Greeting Song,” Pat avoids all formality and heads toward the heart of the matter.

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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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