Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
551

Pat Metheny: Tokyo Day Trip

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Pat Metheny: Tokyo Day Trip Subtitled Live EP, Tokyo Day Trip is a specially priced gift for those who've missed the opportunity to see guitarist Pat Metheny and his trio of the past couple years, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez. At half the length of what a CD can hold, it's 41 minutes of pure gold from the best trio of Metheny's career. The spark that is by no means absent from the trio's studio recording, Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2008), is simply that much brighter on Tokyo Day Trip



Calling this Metheny's best trio is a bold statement about an artist who has previously partnered with Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, Dave Holland and Roy Haynes, Jaco Pastorius and Bob Moses, and, most recently, Larry Grenadier and Bill Stewart. Each trio had something distinctive to offer, but none were ever this hot; even the ballads possess a simmering intensity. The fiery 12-minutes of the aptly titled "Traveling Fast" not only feature Metheny at his best—combining frightening virtuosity with unmistakable lyricism—but also provide McBride and Sanchez an equal chance to stretch. While this group is absolutely not about competition, there's a playful sense of keeping up with each other, despite no one ever resorting to meaningless technical displays. It's always about the music.



Day Trip's single flaw was Metheny's choice of signature guitar synth on "When We Were Free" and "The Red One." The horn-like tone felt out of place with the warm acoustic and electric guitars Metheny used on most of the disc; equally, the rock/reggae-inflections of "The Red One" just didn't seem to fit. Here, "Back Arm & Blackcharge" is far more aggressively raucous but, even with Metheny's overdriven and heavily delayed tone, it somehow fits perfectly between two acoustic ballads—the nylon-string driven "Inori" and steel-string "The Night Becomes You."



With a knotty, rapid-fire unison melody that still retains that Metheny lyricism, "Back Arm" opens up to a propulsive solo section that blends harder edges and hints of Latin groove, all wrapped up in an elastic setting that—for a guitarist who has described himself as going into "self edit" mode when he knows he's being recorded—is some of Metheny's most unfettered playing on disc. "Reckless abandon" and "Metheny" rarely go together, but they do here, with "Back Arm & Blackcharge" a rare glimpse into a Metheny with few, if any, restrictions—self-imposed or otherwise.



But it's "Tromso" that's the jewel of the disc. Atmospheric, with a folksy vibe driven by Metheny's electric sitar, it's a completely different window into this trio. It's the second longest track on Tokyo Day Trip but, instead of being a solo vehicle, it's the most purely collective track from a trio all about interaction; a taste, perhaps, of the guitarist's early days at ECM, with its rarified air.



Tokyo Day Trip not only surpasses its studio cousin but, by representing so many facets of Metheny's playing despite its relative brevity, stands as one terrific entry point into Metheny's trio work.


Track Listing: Tromso; Traveling Fast; Inori; Back Arm & Blackcharge; The Night Becomes You.

Personnel: Pat Metheny: guitar, electric sitar, baritone and acoustic guitars; Christian McBride: acoustic bass; Antonio Sanchez: drums, orchestra bells.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
What is Jazz?
Live Reviews
DVD/Film Reviews
Read more articles
The Unity Sessions
The Unity Sessions
Nonesuch Records
2016
buy
The Unity Sessions
The Unity Sessions
Eagle Eye Media
2015
buy
Kin (<—>)
Kin (<—>)
Nonesuch Records
2014
buy
Tap - John Zorn's Book Of Angels | Vol. 20
Tap - John Zorn's...
Nonesuch Records
2013
buy
Unity Band
Unity Band
Nonesuch Records
2012
buy
What's It All About
What's It All About
Nonesuch Records
2011
buy
Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
bass, electric
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Pat Martino Pat Martino
guitar
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Larry Coryell Larry Coryell
guitar
Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Mike Stern Mike Stern
guitar
Lyle Mays Lyle Mays
keyboard

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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