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Tokyo Day Trip (Live)

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Album Review

The Pat Metheny Trio's Tokyo Day Trip EP collects five tracks that were originally issued as bonus tracks on different projects — in Japan and by Nonesuch — and offers them to fans for a bargain price tag. This is no mere marketing gag. For a long time now, fans have been requesting these cuts, all of which were recorded before the trio went in to record the phenomenal Day Trip album that was released in January of 2008. Metheny, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Antonio Sanchéz offer a solid and wildly diverse 40-minute set of music. The disc opens with the lengthy introspective and wonderfully atmospheric electric ballad "Tromsø." It's followed by the guitarist's trademark euphoric and sophisticated post-bop jazz "Traveling Fast" and the acoustic pastoral piece "Inori." "The Night Becomes You," which closes the set, is a gorgeous impressionistic jazz ballad that marries Metheny's harmonic palette with Bill Evans' lyric sensibility and sense of sparseness. These four cuts are all worthy additions to Metheny's catalog and make for a compelling listen. All of this said, the real icing on the cake for many will be the kinetic, knotty, and overdriven "Back Arm & Blackcharge," which places the trio firmly in the category of electric jazz-rock — all the more impressive given the fact that McBride plays an acoustic bass on it. Long, loud, labyrinthine lines flow from Metheny's guitar, wedding bebop, funk, controlled feedback, choppy Hendrixian chord voicings, and a pure rockist's sense of attack to a rhythm section set on stun. Sanchéz's breakbeats and triple-time polyrhythmic inversions take in jazz history from Gene Krupa and Max Roach to Elvin Jones and postmodern Afro-Cuban clave extrapolations. McBride's force and brutally quick changes between single line and chords act as a bridge between Metheny and Sanchéz — but all the while it's his game, given the way rhythms shift and interlock and create new pulses. This track alone is worth the price of admission, and makes the EP essential. Metheny, who understands his fan base better than just about any other jazz artist out there, knows that some fans already have some of these cuts, and has made the individual selections available as digital downloads as well.


Born: 12 August 1954 in Lee's Summit, MO

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most original guitarists from the '80s onward (he is instantly recognizable), Pat Metheny is a chance-taking player who has gained great popularity but also taken some wild left turns. His records with the Pat Metheny Group are difficult to describe (folk-jazz? mood music?) but manage to be both accessible and original, stretching the boundaries of jazz and making Metheny famous enough that he could perform whatever type of music he wanted without losing his audience. Metheny (whose...
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Tokyo Day Trip (Live), Pat Metheny
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