(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “San Lorenzo” (1978)

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With this album, we have what many think of as the classic Pat Metheny Group sound, “San Lorenzo” being a perfect exemplar.

My first instinct is to say that the music has a lot of space in it, but that doesn’t quite get us there. It’s more that the musical structures are built by implication. Listen to how the changes are danced around with chiming artificial harmonics, short bass missives, attackless guitar tones, and Lyle Mays’ swipes across the autoharp. These sequences are often punctuated by a quick volume increase, accented by Dan Gottlieb’s cymbal washes. The group’s use of dynamics in this way is definitely one of their defining characteristics, with many examples to follow.

The live version embedded below actually lacks some of sonic detail of the studio track, but I just couldn’t resist the odd charm of seeing Pat playing that electric 12-string.

Up next: Phase Dance

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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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