(Cross the) Heartland: Pat Metheny, “Every Day [I Thank You]” (1980)

A definite 80/81 standout track, “Every Day (I Thank You)” features Michael Brecker at his most expressive. There are many interviews out there where Pat runs out of superlatives when talking about Brecker’s work on this song. It’s not hard to see why. Brecker takes that melody line and lifts it by imparting intense and freely-given emotion. It’s definitely some of his best work. A bold statement to make given Brecker’s impossibly huge and impressive resume.

This particular composition is one in a long line of Metheny works in which a several parts are connected. Pat’s never been one to stick to straight jazz forms. So here we do have an introduction, but that’s followed by a very long segment that highlights Mr. Brecker’s development of the theme. Pat switches between unison play and comping all along, but then takes over after Brecker steps away. Metheny’s delicate response does redevelop the melody, but seems more like a response to the amazing nature of what has just transpired.

I read somewhere that this track was done in only one or two takes. Wow. No wonder Pat was so impressed.

In the embedded video, Michael Brecker takes that melody to ever further heights. And yes, the end of the tune is cut out. Amazingly enough, that doesn’t detract from the Brecker phenomenon.

Up next: Goin’ Ahead

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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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