571

Pat Metheny: Secret Story: Deluxe Edition

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Pat Metheny: Secret Story: Deluxe Edition If The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005) is Pat Metheny Group's magnum opus, then Secret Story is the guitarist's greatest achievement as a solo artist to date. A sprawling, 76-minute epic featuring a wealth of guest artists, members of a symphony orchestra and Metheny playing countless parts on an arsenal of guitars and keyboards, its only flaw has been the comparably thin sound that marred much of his Geffen-era work. Secret Story: Deluxe Edition not only gives the album the sonic upgrade it's been waiting for, but includes a second disc with five tracks that, while recorded for the date, were ultimately omitted.

Metheny has always leaned towards long-form, through-composed writing, especially in collaboration with pianist Lyle Mays on Pat Metheny Group albums. Here, as sole composer, one can hear Mays' contribution to PMG through its absence. While there's no lack of complexity here, there's stronger romanticism and less mathematical logic. Still, Metheny makes many of his roots clear, most notably the pulse-driven minimalism of composer Steve Reich, whose influence can be heard on the sweeping "Cathedral in a Suitcase" and multi- layered, contrapuntal "Finding and Believing," where the late Mark Ledford's many times overdubbed voice is pitted against percussive guitar and keyboard parts.

While Secret Story's rich compositional approach eschews the spontaneity of Metheny's more open-ended trio projects, there's still no shortage of strong improvising throughout, most notably his electric guitar solos on the propulsive Midwestern Americana of "Facing West" and more change-heavy "See the World," and his signature trumpet-like guitar synth on the balladic "The Longest Summer" and powerfully dramatic "The Truth Will Always Be."

Metheny's world view is all over Secret Story, from the opening "Above the Treetops," based on a traditional Cambodian hymn, to the classical romanticism of "Tell Her You Saw Me," the backbeat-driven and near-anthemic "Sunlight" and Brazilian-informed "Rain River." While most Metheny albums have each possessed a relatively singular focus, Secret Story's broad narrative is the most inclusive representation of the guitarist as composer and multi-instrumentalist.

Tthe added tracks on disc two are intriguing, but it's easy to see why they weren't included on the original release. The orchestra-driven "Back in Time," the best of the bunch, features harmonicist Toots Thielemans and Metheny's graceful nylon-string guitar, while "Et si c'était la fin" is a bright, Burt Bacharach-like piece of pop. These tunes bookend three tracks—"Understanding," "A Change in Circumstance" and "Look Ahead"— that are unfortunately mislabeled. The first features the entire Pat Metheny Group, a delicate, through- composed piece; the second is another orchestral piece featuring harpist Skaila Kanga; and the last is a brief orchestral miniature.

For those who already own Secret Story, the bonus tracks are an interesting view into how and why certain pieces make it onto an album while others don't. But it's the beautifully warm and rich remastering, revealing details previously unheard, that makes Secret Story: Deluxe Edition definitive, essential, and a welcome return to print of an indisputable masterpiece.

Track Listing: CD1: Above the Treetops; Facing West; A Cathedral in a Suitcase; Finding and Believing; The Longest Summer; Sunlight; Rain River; Always and Forever; See the World; As a Flower Blossoms (I am Running to You); Antonia; The Truth Will Always Be; Tell Her You Saw Me; Not to Be Forgotten (Our Final Hour). CD2: Back in Time; Understanding; A Change in Circumstance; Look Ahead; Et si c'Etait la fin (As If It Were the End).

Personnel: Pat Metheny: acoustic guitars (CD1#1, CD1#2, 4-6, CD1#8, CD1#9, CD2#1, CD2#2), synths CD1# (1-4, CD1#6-10, CD1#12, CD1#13), electric basses (CD1#2), keyboards (CD1#2, CD1#3, CD1#6, CD1#7, CD1#11, CD1#12, CD2#1, CD2#2, CD2#5), electric guitars (CD1#2-4, CD1#6, CD1#7, CD1#11, CD2#2), guitar synth (CD1#3, CD1#5, CD1#12), keyboard bass (CD1#3), electric percussion (CD1#3, CD1#4, CD1#12), electric sitars (CD1#4, CD1#7), piano (CD1#4, CD1#10, CD1#11, CD2#5), acoustic piano (CD1#5), electric piano (CD1#6-9), pikasso guitar (CD1#10), Synclavier accordion (CD1#11), guitar (CD1#13, CD2#4, CD2#5); Charlie Haden: acoustic bass (CD1#1, CD1#8), bass (CD2#1); Nana Vasconcelos: percussion (CD1#1, CD1#4, CD1#5, CD1#10-12), voice (CD1#11); Armando Mar�al: percussion (CD1#1, CD1#3-7, CD1#9, CD2#2); Members of the London Orchestra, conducted by Jeremy Lubbock; Lyle Mays: acoustic piano (CD1#2, CD1#6, CD2#2), keyboards (CD2#2); Steve Ferrone: drums (CD1#3, CD1#4 Part 1, CD1#5 Part 2, CD1#12); Mark Ledford: voice (CD1#3, CD1#4, CD2#2); Danny Gottleib: cymbal roll (CD1#3, CD1#11); Will Lee: bass (CD1#4 Part 1), electric bass (CD1#6, CD1#12, CD2#5); Steve Rodby: acoustic bass (CD1#4 Part 3, CD1#5-7, CD1#9, CD1#11, CD2#2) electric bass (CD1#6); Paul Wertico: drums (CD1#4 Part 3, CD1#5 Part 1, CD1#7, CD1#9, CD1#11, CD2#2); Gil Goldstein: accordion (CD1#4), acoustic piano (CD1#7, CD1#9); Sammy Merendino: drums (CD1#6); Andy Findore: flute (CD1#7); Michael Mossman: trumpet and flugelhorn (CD1#9); Mike Metheny: trumpet and flugelhorn (CD1#9); Ryan Kisor: trumpet and flugelhorn (CD1#9); Tom Malone: trombone (CD1#9); Dave Taylor: bass trombone (CD1#9); Dave Bargeron: tuba (CD1#9), trombone (CD1#9); John Clark: French Horn (CD1#9); Anthony Jackson: contrabass guitar (CD1#9 interlude); Akiko Yano: lyrics and voice (CD1#10); Toots Thielemans: harmonica (CD1#11, CD2#1); Skaila Kanga: harp (CD1#13, CD2#4); David Blamires: voice (CD2#2); Paulo Bragi: drums (CD2#5); Members of the Quebec Children�s Choir (CD2#5).

Title: Secret Story: Deluxe Edition | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Dream Within A Dream CD/LP/Track Review Dream Within A Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Live At The High Noon CD/LP/Track Review Live At The High Noon
by Doug Collette
Published: June 22, 2017
Read As It Should Be: Ballads 2 CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017
Read Karoujite CD/LP/Track Review Karoujite
by John Eyles
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Beauty & Truth" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty & Truth
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Salt Task" CD/LP/Track Review Salt Task
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "Lost Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Lost Signals
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Planets + Persona" CD/LP/Track Review Planets + Persona
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.