Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pat Metheny - Tap (Nonesuch/Tzadik, 2013)

Composer John Zorn has invited many musicians to interpret his growing songbook, but none seemed as interesting and fraught with danger than this one. Guitarist Pat Metheny is best known for his pop-jazz work, but has also collaborated with edgy musicians like Ornette Coleman and Dewey Redman over the course of his career. On this album he plays a wide array of instruments in the company of Antonio Sanchez on drums. “Mastema” is a hot opener, immediately gaining attention with an exciting and progressive combination of electric guitar and drums. They shift gears on “Albim” with Metheny moving to introspective acoustic guitar with a dark and probing touch, and Sanchez playing very subtle brushed percussion. “Tharsis” features Metheny using a guitar synthesizer, spouting arcs of neon lighted music over tight drumming. Building to a fast and complex section and then drawing down to the conclusion, the performance is kept dynamic and interesting. A darker and more ominous feel is developed on “Sariel”  where strummed guitar is used to frame longer electrified lines. This lengthy performance moves through several sections from fast and snarly through a downtempo rhythm. “Hurmiz” ends the album with an interesting switch to keyboards enveloping Sanchez’s drums and moving to a chaotic free feel. This works well and gives Sanchez plenty of space for some thunderous drumming. Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that this album was so successful. John Zorn’s Book of Angels compositions are quite accessible for a wide range of musicians and listeners alike.Tap - amazon.com

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