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

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“Sea Song,” while not bursting out in the style that would mature on the next Group release, did extend one of Metheny’s signatures, that of the long-form melodic story, introduced in fragments. To my ears, this has always been nothing less than genius. He stays within the parameters of the key centers presented and weaves together a melody that feels as inevitable as the change of seasons.

I keep waiting for the tune to morph into “San Lorenzo” (from the next group effort) but instead, the guitar, piano, and pass wind around each other, creating a soundtrack of sorts that unfolds in many layers.

This may or may not be true, but I read somewhere that Pat isn’t all that fond of this particular record. Obviously, that’s his prerogative. But there are echoes of “Sea Song” that extend out from here through Pat Metheny Group‘s “April Wind” through As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls and all the way out to 2005’s The Way Up. What’s amazing about this is that none of it ever comes close to feeling like a cliché. It’s more like a language — a mysterious one that we can learn only by paying close attention over a long period of time. I’m still learning.

Up next: San Lorenzo

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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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