Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tokyo Daytripper

On a whole, Pat Metheny's discography is pretty spotty. Terrible missteps like "American Garage" or, well, just about anything else by the Pat Metheny Group coexist alongside masterpieces of quiet fusion like "80/81" or "Trio 99/00;" everybody already knows that Metheny's recent "Day Trip," his trio album with Antonio Sanchez and Christian McBride, is one of the good ones. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that "Tokyo Day Trip," a sort of live B-sides spin-off record (if those kinds of records even really exist in the jazz world) is stellar. As opposed to sounding like odds and ends from the "Day Trip" trio (which, essentially, it is), "Tokyo Day Trip" stands on it's own.

In spite of "Tokyo Day Trip" being very Pat Metheny, to the point where every track with the exception of the brilliant eastern dirge "Tromso" that opens the disc falls into one of Metheny's archetypes, it is also very good. Even "Inori," the Metheny Group-esque pentatonic ballad, manages to showcase a huge amount of emotion from Metheny and the band. In fact, emotion is one of the things that really sets this particular EP apart from much else in Metheny's discography; he manages to sound neither like a robotic technician nor a contrived melodramatic actor, his two most prevalent modes. Everything on "Tokyo Day Trip," like many of Metheny's great records (Read: "Bright Size Life") sounds as if it came from somewhere meaningful.

Taking every track into account, my personal favorite is "Back Arm and Back Charge," possibly the loudest thing to come out of the jazz world since the Nels Cline Singers unleashed "Confection" on their most recent album; Metheny tries to beat Cline at his own game, and almost succeeds. That said though, every performance on this EP is a highlight; "Traveling Fast" is an up-tempo tune highlighting Metheny's technique, and "The Night Becomes You" is beautiful. Highly Recommended if you can find it.

Next time I'm going to have my TOP FIVE(ish) JAZZ TUNES OF THE SPRING! So check back here in a couple days. Who will make the Jazz Monster's Top Ten? Esperanza Spalding? Ambrose Akinmusire? Someone you've actually heard of? Check back and find out...

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