Pat Metheny: Day Trip (2008)
While the cynics among us could say Day Trip is calculatedcontaining a balance of speedy numbers, acoustic ballads and grooving toe-tappersit could also be looked at as a statement from an artist who has organically brought together the best elements of the open-minded 1960s and 1970s, when musical diversity was more the norm than the exception. The sincerity of "Is This America? (Katrina 2005)" is striking. Its reflective quality, emphasized by McBride's brief arco solo, is a rare success; a piece of music that brings up feelings (and questions) about a current event without the benefit of lyrics. "When We Were Free" follows, its slinky but solid 3/4 beat suggesting a bluesy resolve, looking forward and backwards at the same time, and featuring McBride's full tone and Sanchez in Elvin Jones mode. "Let's Move" might be the most burning tune. Super-fast, all hands play with an inspiring togetherness. We know Metheny can solo over a fast tempo, but the drumming and bass playing (including solos) is musically sophisticated beyond mere pyrotechnics.
"The Red One," which balances a reggae feel with stadium rock power-chords, first appeared on Metheny's 1994 Blue Note collaboration with John Scofield, I Can See Your House From Here. Though similar to that version, Sanchez and McBride infuse their unique musical personalities into a piece that may even become a standard in its own right. Metheny occupies an interesting position in the pantheon of popular jazz artists: while he has made records with accessible melodies and textures that approach so-called smooth jazz, he's also collaborated with avant-garde icons like Ornette Coleman and Derek Bailey. Day Trip makes a strong case for this musical omnivore.
Track Listing: Son of Thirteen; At Last You
Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitar; Christian McBride: bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.
Record Label: Nonesuch Records
Style: Modern Jazz