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Mike Metheny: Close Enough For Love

Leading a sometimes wild ride-from dusky straightahead jazz to wiggy, bopping romps on trumpet, flugelhorn and a self-developed trumpet-synth EVI-Mike Metheny fronts a tight, Kansas City-based ensemble on the compelling Close Enough for Love (3 Valve Music 3V-001; 56:30). Metheny’s EVI is a story in itself, providing a harmonica-reminiscent feel to contrast the jazzy samba base of “Pretty,” a bubbling, hollow quality to wig-out the straight-ahead bop of “Yes, I’ve Met Miss Jones” and a wistful tone on the waltzing, disarmingly romantic “3 for Boston.”

Polished musicianship also makes for compelling “classic” treatments, from the raunchy grooves of “Attitude Blues” (marked by excellent acoustic bass breaks by Bob Bowman) to the album’s dusky, sparse arrangement of the Johnny Mandel-penned title track, spotlighting Metheny’s crying, wandering flugelhorn pathos. Equally emotive are the darker, bossa-nova colors of “Ta-Ta for Now,” a haunted, bittersweet piece featuring Metheny brother Pat on guitar. Through it all, Mike Metheny maintains a sense of adventure-and humor-most vividly displayed on a wacky read of “The Greatest Love of All,” featuring Metheny on must-hear “clarinet d’amore” (which I won’t spoil here with any further description).

Originally Published