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.