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Pat Metheny Group - Letter From Home (1989)

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Pat Metheny Group - Letter From Home (1989)

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1. Have You Heard
2. Every Summer Night
3. Better Days Ahead play
4. Spring Ain't Here
5. 45/8
6. 5-5-7
7. Beat 70
8. Dream Of The Return
9. Are We There Yet
10. Vidala play
11. Slip Away
12. Letter From Home

Pat Metheny (acoustic & electric guitars, Synclavier, synthesizer);
Pedro Aznar (vocals, tenor saxophone, pipes, melodica, vibraphone, marimba, acoustic guitar,
charango, percussion);
Lyle Mays (trumpet, piano, organ, keyboards, Synclavier);
Steve Rodby (acoustic & electric basses);
Paul Wertico (drums, percussion);
Armando Marcal (percussion).


A jazz-fusion classic from Pat Metheny's mid-30s, steeped in joy and sensuality. The guitarist's singing, soaring, shimmering sound is tinged with yearning, occasionally sadness--that's a crucial, overlooked aspect of his musical voice. The talented lineup flies assuredly with the brilliant leader, who mans several varieties of acoustic, electric, and synthesized guitars. The electronics of keyboardist Lyle Mays, straight from American front parlors and chapels, brings just the right amount of twist to Metheny's lacings of folk and rock. More shadings and fire come from Mays's accordion and trumpet, and the versatile Pedro Aznar's vocals, marimba, vibes, charango, melodica, and percussion. All but two tracks are by Metheny. His ability to write complex but accessible tunes is undeniable, and his arrangements are inspired. --Peter Monaghan


The new Nonesuch remasters of the Pat Metheny catalog have a significant, if not incredibly different, sound improvement over the original Geffen CDs. Simply stated, the sound is much "brighter" and clearer, and depending on the tracks, instruments have a better balance, and in some cases stand out better in the mix than the original. Since most of these albums were originaly recorded with exceptional skill in the age of digital audio technology (mid 1980's to present), the truth is that the original CDs can stand out just as good in terms of sound quality. This is not like some remasters of 60s, and 70s albums where the sound difference is huge. With the exception of Song X(X), the remasters feature no pluses. It would have been nice to have some extra tracks, new or restored artwork, PMG in the studio photos, essays or something. So if you are not a PatMetheniac fan and have the original CDs, stick with them. If you have never had the pleasure of having these great works of art, don't wait any longer and get them. This is some of the greatest music ever recorded. Now, if the original ECM releases were remastered... ---Charlie Greene


Picking up where Still Life (Talking) leaves off (instead of throwing listeners a curve ball like Song X), the equally triumphant Letter from Home stresses Brazilian elements with superb results. While a number of these treasures -- including "Beat 70," "Have You Heard," and "Every Summer Night" -- are light and accessible enough to have enjoyed exposure on some smooth jazz stations, Letter contains the type of depth and honesty that's sorely lacking in most smooth jazz. Metheny has always known the difference between light and lightweight, and even at his most delicate, he avoids entering "Muzak" territory. True to form, the improviser doesn't shy away from making extensive use of technology, but is insightful enough to do so in a very warm and soulful fashion. Like Still Life, Letter from Home is a fine example of a CD that is both a commercial and an artistic success. ~ Alex Henderson

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Last Updated (Sunday, 08 March 2015 22:03)


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