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Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up

The Pat Metheny Group ought to be one of the best understood ensembles in jazz. It has been essentially intact since 1977, has recorded and toured extensively, and has cultivated an identifiable (if multidimensional) sonic signature. But The Way Up is completely unexpected. The band-which now includes Cuong Vu (trumpet), Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Gregoire Maret (harmonica), in addition to the long-term core of Pat Metheny (guitars), Lyle Mays (keyboards) and Steve Rodby (basses)-has moved to a new level, rather like a short story writer who suddenly publishes a major epic novel.

The group’s 12th studio album is a 68-minute through-composed work of richness, complexity and stunning execution. Over its length, as in a good novel, themes and motives and details appear for a reason-because they will be developed and connected into the wholeness and meaning of a total design.

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