Pat Metheny has not recorded with a trio for upwards of eight years, but Day Trip certainly makes the wait worth it. The simplicity of its approach will, no doubt, appeal to those fans of the guitarist who relish his primary virtues as an improvising instrumentalist. But it will no doubt foster revelations in Pat Metheny Group aficionados who can rediscover his core virtues.
Judging from the impeccable new disc, Metheny, along with comrades drummer Antonio Sanchez and Christian McBride, took just the right route to nurture themselves as a unit in preparation for studio recording. Roadwork over the last couple yearsinterwoven with Metheny's other projects, Group-wise and with Brad Mehldauseems to have nurtured the chemistry of the three musicians. They sound eminently knowledgeable of each other on the brisk "Son of Thirteen and more restful "At Last You're Here.
But the potential of the trio, based on its collective talent, begs the question of whether it can just keep evolving past this tremendously productive point. Sanchez's percussion ripples in time with the guitar on "Sonora, while the bass lines are equally fluid and percussive; McBride's solo melts back into the ensemble on this track and he, like Sanchez never calls attention to himself. Yet both musicians make their presence constantly felt, even when Metheny is upfront.
Day Trip is earmarked by a paucity of synth guitar and an abundance of pure liquid electric lines. Overdubbing allows the intermix of acoustic and electric instruments on "Dreaming Trees but, rather than cluttering it, only serves to open up the spacious quality of the sound. "Dreaming Tress" is in sharp relief with its immediate predecessor, "The Red One, where the synth guitar appears only long enough to whet your appetite for more.
On stage Metheny, Sanchez and McBride are capable of performances comparable to this recording, yet the trio could hardly be more efficient, with Day Trip being recorded in its entirety in a single day.
It's not unreasonable to expect a live recording from the extensive tour that the threesome will embark upon in support of this CDthe same course of events at the turn of the decade when Metheny worked with drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Larry Grenadier. In the meantime, Day Trip will stand any listener in good stead.
Track Listing: Son Of Thirteen; At Last You're Here; Let's Move; Snova; Calvin's Keys; Is This America? (Katrina 2005); When We Were Free; Dreaming Trees; The Red One; Day Trip.
Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitars, guitar synth; Christian McBride: acoustic bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums.
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