(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny Group, “Airstream” (1979)

Share this:

Danny Gottlieb tosses in a quick drum lick before the introductory chord sequence takes off. For just a few bars, there’s a chance that the non-stop energy of (Cross the) Heartland will be maintained. Instead, we get a slow burner.

Pat drops back to reveal the trio of Lyle Mays, Gottleib, and Mark Egan. With Mays on piano and Egan providing his signature colorations, the trio plays a sort of open-hearted Midwestern blues. Metheny comes back in, taking the melodic handoff from Lyle. I don’t know that I appreciated it at the time, but the interplay during this passage is just so subtle and beautiful. Pats phrases morph into extensions coming from Lyle’s piano, while Egan’s lines give lift by seeming to both comment on and “guide” the changes.

The more contemplative “blues” section is followed by series of chords that become the driving riff for the rest of the composition. It’s here that we get Metheny deliver chorus after chorus of searching and ascending guitar excursions.

I’ve never seen any of this material played live, which is why I’ve embedded another video from back in the day. I’ve read that Pat isn’t particularly fond of this album, a real shame because from what I can see, the passion was undeniable.

Up next: The Search

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B001EE8PNK” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001EE4NU4″ container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B001BOX2YK” container=”” container_class=”” price=”All” background_color=”FFFFFF” link_color=”000000″ text_color=”0000FF” /]

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
Share this:
Close