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iTunes Editors’ Notes

This 1983 album featuring three Ornette Coleman songs tells us two things. First, it’s altogether apt that guitarist Pat Metheny is joined by bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins, both Coleman alumni. And secondly, unlike the Pat Metheny Group fusion material (which is also quite good), this collection of songs is more firmly based in edgy jazz interplay. Whether it’s the covers (ironically, “Lonely Woman” is the Horace Silver version instead of the Coleman classic) or Metheny originals, there's a distinct chemistry where Haden functions as the swingman between his years with the always-understated Higgins and his voluminous folk-jazz excursions with Metheny. He solos in his usual lyrical manner on “Blues for Pat” (which he wrote) and adds some ambient bass tones to “Waiting for an Answer” (which he cowrote). Metheny straps on the synthesizer guitar for much of the album's second half, and while “Story from a Stranger” has a nice melodic core, things get pretty wild on “The Calling.” Not the acknowledged masterpiece from this era, this is still worthy of considerable attention.

Customer Reviews

Metheny

I was surprised to find that this recording has not received many reviews, so, being the Pat Metheny fan that I am, wanted to do my part in emphasizing the significance of this amazing recording to both Pat Metheny fans, as well as to jazz fans in general.

This album was made in 1983, at the time when CD's were just coming on the market, which happened to also be the same time that Pat Metheny's star was in a meteoric rise. This record was a significant departure from Pat's musical path at that time, which was rooted in the more electric/fusion direction of his group recordings, which had hooked me: the first group (white cover) album, then "Watercolors," then "OffRamp," then the amazing live "Travels," to this day one of my favorite records of any genre. So then he releases this record, and I remember at the time actually (shameful to say now) being somewhat disappointed after I first heard it. But, I was younger then, and more naive. Now I know better.

Pat made this record with two veteran jazz musicians, Billy Higgins on drums, and Charlie Haden on bass, in fine acoustic form on this record. (Signficantly, this rhythm section was known for their work with Ornette Coleman, a true pioneer in free form jazz, and a strong Metheny influence.) Now, Pat is PARTLY acoustic here, but also brings out his distinctive (really trademark) synclavier guitar sound that he had been using on the forementioned recordings, as well as the clean, warm tone from his hollow body Gibson. So, there is incredible variety on this record in terms of Pat's guitar work.

There are several Metheny compositions on the record, but roughly half of the tunes are Metheny's interpretations of his influences. The lead tune, "Lonely Woman," is a Horace Silver original, written at the inception of the bebop movement in jazz, mid-1950's. Pianist Silver is considered one of the founders of the bebop movement, so leading off with this tune is clearly a tribute. Pat's interpretation of this is somber in comparison to the original, and in its slow tempo, quite simply beautiful. The next several tunes, including "Tears Inside," "Humpty Dumpty," and "Rejoicing," are all Coleman originals but with fresh and in my opinion, more accessible, interpretations from Metheny. "Blues For Pat" is a catchy blues-inflected number with nice individual statements from the rhythm section. But, the piece-de-resistance on the record is "Story From A Stranger," a Metheny original which is as mesmerizing and stunning on the 47th listen as it is on the first. The record wraps with the Coleman-influenced "The Calling," in which the synclavier sound is in mostly free form mode, and for me, is the weak spot on an otherwise stellar record.

So, 27 years later, I now have an almost profound appreciation and admiration for what Pat Metheny did as a burgeoning 29 year-old jazz maestro. True genius. Treat yourself to this one.

Essential

I have this on vinyl and now I can have one Pats' best on I-Tunes. Pat's acoustic works are very underrated. This recoring proves it. Billy Higgins!

Perfect!

This album is very impressive with tracks for moments of very relax and uncasual. Perfect album, great combination of Metheny, Higgins and Haden! Buy Now!

Biography

Born: October 11, 1936 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

As a member of the groundbreaking Ornette Coleman-led quartet that launched the free jazz renaissance, Billy Higgins remains one of the most important and controversial drummers in music history. An uncommonly versatile and intuitive player, his nimble rhythmic patterns achieved a perfect balance between function and form, inspiring the great trumpeter Lee Morgan to remark "[Higgins] never overplays, but you always know he's there." Born October 11, 1936, in Los Angeles, Higgins began his career...
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Rejoicing, Billy Higgins
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  • $10.32
  • Genres: Contemporary Jazz, Music, Jazz
  • Released: 1983

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