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CD Review - Pat Metheny Group, Quartet

By Mark Towns
Published: March 20 1997, Houston Press

Pat Metheny is probably the world's most successful jazz guitarist not to feature vocals, a fact that, I suppose, gives him license with his record company to pretty much do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, the listener suffers the consequences. On Quartet, Metheny tries to succeed on too many fronts -- ballads, straight-ahead contemporary jazz and pure group improvisation. Taken as a whole, it fails miserably. Not that Quartet doesn't start out promisingly enough with "When We Were Free," a medium-tempo jazz waltz and the CD's best tune. If Metheny could have kept up this groove, everything would have been great. But the mood is broken as quickly as the intro to the next track, " Montevideo," which features a lot of random noise-making before degenerating into a pseudo-samba that goes nowhere fast. "Take Me Home" is next, a fast swinging groove that features Metheny's hottest licks of the CD. Unfortunately, if you've ever heard Metheny, you've heard these same licks before. One of the final tracks, "Language of Time," is classic Metheny, with guitar synth and everything, but it's surrounded by a dectet of boring ballads. Ultimately, Quartet is for hard-core Metheny fans only. (**)

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