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

At first, you might think that New Chautauqua was going to fade out in a series of simple reveries. I would have been fine with that, because that set of ringing arpeggios have that kind of searching quality so common to this album. Those chord changes, if allowed to close out the album, would have left questions unanswered: there are no references to the many themes presented throughout.

Instead, just past the four minute mark, a new theme emerges that seems to tie everything together. Pat strums through the chords folk style (think 80/81) while the melody floats over the top. I’ve always loved those moments where he lets the note at the end of a lines ring out, to be commented on by the pair of artificial harmonics to follow. So simple, and so beautiful.

This sets us up perfectly for the Wichita Falls record, Metheny and Mays’ first serious foray into truly through-composed material.

P.S. Yes, the sound quality isn’t the greatest on the embedded video, but I was just mesmerized by that reel-to-reel.

Up next: As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls

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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 writes several 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.

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