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DVD/Video/Film Reviews

Pat Metheny Group: Imaginary Day Live

By Published: May 9, 2008
The other criticism is Rodby's direction and editing. Rodby has, over the past two decades, gradually emerged as not just a fine ensemble player, but an astute producer as well, producing discs by Oregon, including the group's remarkable In Moscow (Intuition, 2000), with the Moscow Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, and Oregon woodwind multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless' smaller ensemble effort, Premonition (Windham Hill, 1992). Imaginary Day Live was his first attempt at directing and it shows. With the benefit of multiple camera angles, there was the perfect opportunity for a birds-eye view of the group that even the best seat in the house couldn't provide, and which Rodby delivered with The Way Up Live (Eagle Eye, 2006). Unfortunately, armed with digital editing tools and plenty of time, Rodby makes Imaginary Day Live a somewhat tumultuous visual ride, with a variety of visual effects thrown in that, taken individually, can be artful, but when taken together, make the entire experience a little too busy at times.

Pat Metheny Group



Still, these are relatively minor quibbles, when compared to the outstanding sound quality and performances on Imaginary Day Live. Virtually every tune outstrips its studio counterpart, through the energy and depth of the solos and the power of the group, which augments the core quartet with the late vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Mark Ledford, vocalist/percussionist/guitarist Philip Hamilton and percussionist Jeff Haynes. With less marketing at the time of its initial release, this welcome reissue of Imaginary Day Live will surprise those who are of the opinion that Pat Metheny Group is an undeniably talented but oftentimes uninteresting group. There's always been more beneath the hood of Metheny and Mays' accessible writing and, while there are other Metheny Group discs that usually rise to the top of fans' favorites lists—the outstanding Travels (ECM, 1983) being one—it's hard to think of another album other, perhaps, than the group's 1978 debut, that struck artistic gold so instantly from the first note to the last.



For those who caught the tour, Imaginary Day Live is an essential memento; for those unfortunate enough to have missed it, it's an opportunity to hear the group in top form, flawlessly executing material that remains some of Metheny and Mays' most memorable to date.

Tracks: Into the Dream; Follow Me; A Story Within a Story; Imaginary Day; Heat of the Day; Across the Sky; The Roots of Coincidence; Message to a Friend; September Fifteenth; Minuano (Six Eight).

Personnel: Pat Metheny: acoustic, electric and synth guitars; Lyle Mys: acoustic piano, keyboards, guitar; Steve Rodby; acoustic and electric bass; Paul Wertico; Mark Ledford: vocals, trumpet, percussion, guitar; Philip Hamilton: vocals, percussion, guitar; Jeff Haynes: percussion.

Production notes: Steve Rodby: editor and director; Ted Kurland: executive producer; David Sholemson: executive producer; David Oakes: recording engineer; Rob Eaton: mixing engineer; NTSC, All Regions; Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1; Main program running time: 93 minutes. Bonus Features: Reflections on Imaginary Day (An Interview with Pat Metheny); Band Biographies; Discography; Production Notes.



Photo Credit
Captured from Imaginary Day Live, courtesy of Eagle Eye Media



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