Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pat Metheny Unity Band - Kin (Nonesuch, 2014

After guitarist Pat Metheny’s successful Unity album and tour, he keeps the crew from the last album intact, Chris Potter on saxophones, Ben Williams on bass and Antonia Sanchez on drums, but adds a few new wrinkles. First is the addition of his orchestrion contraption which allows him to fill out the sound further and can be used as an arranging tool to frame soloists. The second is the addition of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Giulio Carmassi, who adds a further dimension to the music. This works very well on the lengthy opener “On Day One” where the music builds and then unleashes Chris Potter for an outstanding saxophone solo, filled with vigor. The album as a whole is very good. I was a little skeptical at first, wondering why he would change a good thing, but clearly Metheny knew what he was doing. This could be a watershed album for Metheny, a middle ground where the more friendly and accessible sound of the Pat Metheny Group meets the strong modern jazz of the Unity Band and other jazzier Metheny albums like Rejoicing and 80/81. Kin - amazon.com

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