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Speaking of Now

Speaking of Now

5.0 10
by Pat Metheny Group
From the brilliant straight-ahead work on Trio 99 00 to the free-jazz explorations of his collaboration with Ornette Coleman on Song X, Pat Metheny has traveled the myriad byways of jazz throughout his more than 25 years as a recording artist. But to his millions of fans worldwide, the guitarist is


From the brilliant straight-ahead work on Trio 99 00 to the free-jazz explorations of his collaboration with Ornette Coleman on Song X, Pat Metheny has traveled the myriad byways of jazz throughout his more than 25 years as a recording artist. But to his millions of fans worldwide, the guitarist is best known as the leader of one of the most successful contemporary-jazz ensembles of recent years, the Pat Metheny Group. Though his “extracurricular” journeys have been great trips, it is with the group that he is most at home, and home has never sounded better than it does on Speaking of Now. Along with longtime cohorts keyboardist Lyle Mays and bassist Steve Rodby, Metheny welcomes three new members into the fold: drummer Antonio Sanchez, vocalist/percussionist Richard Bona, and Cuong Vu on trumpet and vocals, all three established artists in their own right. While the album features many of the trademarks that the group is known for -- airy, guitar- and keyboard-driven soundscapes mixed with world music vocals, especially on the album’s opening track, “As It Is” -- there now seems to be a more varied musical element present throughout. In fact, Speaking of Now is the group’s most diverse album in years. The album really kicks off on the second track, “Proof,” a piece that sounds like it would be perfectly at home on the 1978 Pat Metheny Group recording; it's propelled by Sanchez's swinging, solid drumming, along with a succession of great solos by Metheny, Mays, and Vu. The softer tracks, such as “Another Life” and “You,” highlight vocals of Bona and Vu, both of whom deliver gorgeous performances. Among the more interesting tracks is the funk/blues “Afternoon,” one of the most simple and basically melodic songs Metheny has written in a long time, with a solid groove to boot. The three new members are a welcome addition, putting a new spring into the step of this still vital group. Vu’s moody and haunting trumpet work gives the ensemble a more dynamic sonic dimension, while Sanchez’s fantastic playing is a definite plus, inspiring the group rhythmically. Even Metheny’s own playing is the best he’s done with the group in years -- he delivers a virtuoso performance without hitting you over the head with his prowess. Both superbly performed and always highly enjoyable, Speaking of Now should serve as the blueprint for contemporary-jazz records in the 21st century.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lucy Tauss
Speaking of Now finds guitarist Metheny leading a retooled Pat Metheny Group; in addition to longtime core members, keyboardist Lyle Mays and bassist Steve Rodby, the Group now includes drummer Antonio Sanchez, trumpeter/vocalist Cuong Vu, and Richard Bona, who's best known as a bassist, but who functions primarily as the Group's percussionist/vocalist. The result is an exquisite album that features fresh new musical perspectives while losing none of the Group's familiar wide-ranging, melodic, always accessible sound. Most of the tracks on Speaking of Now were composed by Metheny and his longtime collaborator Mays, although three tracks were composed solely by Metheny. There's a buoyant feel to this album that is not to be confused with lightness. This is complex, intricately detailed music that reveals additional layers with each listening. Metheny seems to delight in discovering the myriad means by which his prodigiously accomplished bandmembers can provide coloration to the compositions, both within the larger group and in solo spotlights. Sanchez's rhythmic agility and sensitivity is featured throughout, particularly on "The Gathering Sky," which begins as a sparkling, piano-led number and then transforms into a grooving band jam. One of the album's many solo highlights comes during "Proof," where Vu turns in a poignantly lyrical trumpet solo that is followed by an electrifying, steadily intensifying solo by Mays. Vocals have long been part of the Metheny Group sound, but now he is utilizing them in new ways; "Another Life" opens with Bona and Vu harmonizing on a chorale that leads into the artist's delicate acoustic guitar work, while Bona provides sweet vocalizing over Metheny's guitar on the beautiful, soaring "You." Every track on Speaking of Now possesses a distinct beauty and eloquence. This is a superb offering that is not to be missed.
This is a slightly more subtle PMG, whose intertwining lines are painted broadly against a wide panoramic canvas....taking the music ever further from its American roots and into a realm that is truly global.

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Bros / Wea

Related Subjects


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pat Metheny Group   Primary Artist
Pat Metheny   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Synthesizer Guitar
Lyle Mays   Piano,Keyboards
Steve Rodby   Cello,Acoustic Bass
Antonio Sanchez   Drums
Cuong Vu   Trumpet,Vocals
David Samuels   Percussion,Marimbas
Richard Bona   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Vocals,Fretless Bass Guitar

Technical Credits

Pat Metheny   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Rob Eaton   Engineer,Engineering
Lyle Mays   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Steve Rodby   Producer,Sheet Music
Carolyn Chrzan   Guitar Techician
Wally Dunbar   Sheet Music

Customer Reviews

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Speaking of Now 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fabulous album as most of them are. These guys never cease to amaze. One thing I would like though ... I can't find a translation of the lyrics to "Afternoon" and would really like to know what that song is about. If anyone has them please post them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The group has new found energy and talent. The 3 new additions are incredible musicians and add a new drive and chemistry to this already fine group. Sanchez is an incredible addition on drums. Just saw them on their tour in Detroit. Better in person. Hard to believe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pat Metheny, with the help of his backing band (including 3 new menbers) scores another hit with Speaking of Now. I have followed Pat and Co. now for 20 years and keep waiting for him to have a dud record. I should know better...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is first album Pat Metheny which I've ever heard.... and I think that Pat is a great musician. He is wonderfull person.I was on his concert in Warsav, it was fantastic. I am searching his fans, because I have his unique CD to sell. This is CD from Poland. It was add to polish newspaper. I think that a lot of poeple which are abroad want to bue it. Greetings
Guest More than 1 year ago
Getting better and better with age.After nearly 25yrs of writting and playing music,Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays continue to push the limits of what contemporary jazz is.These two are the Lennon&McCartney of jazz.For all you PMG fans you know what I mean and won't be disappointed.For all of you who aren't familar with this group,explore, and broaden your horizons.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having a single opportunity to listen to this album has left me only wanting to own it on the 12th. For all those awaiting this release...Just you wait..it's almost here. It has all been worth every year since Imaginary Day. The sound that eminates with each track, and I'm sure on subsequent listening will increase with enjoyment has me saying to myself... ''I wish to do something in my life as fullfilling and fun as these jazzmen obviously have every day they get to play.'' Get ready for some fun listening to Speaking of Now!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a Pat Metheny fan since I was ten, and he's still the man! NO ONE TOPS METHENY. NO ONE.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not since the group's Still Life Talking and Letter From Home have I heard such a masterpiece. Metheny seems to have new life breathed into his playing with the addition of Antonio Sanchez on drums. This album has the gentle melodies of earlier Metheny releases yet with the improvisational ferver of his trio efforts. Track 2 ''Proof'' has Metheny smoking out an awe inspiring solo with Trumpet master and new addition Cuong Vu adding a soulful interlude that is climaxed by Lyle Mays' burning solo. This is not your Dad's Pat Metheny Group. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No real surprise here, just another great Metheny album, with absolutely fantastic jazz improvising over beautiful melodies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With "Speaking of Now" Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, and Steve Rodby bring in Richard Bona, Antonio Sanchez, and Cuong Vu to flesh out the sound, and the results are nothing short of spectacular! Pat once again proves that you can be virtuosic and accessible musically without falling into the twin traps of "Wow, I can play faster than you! or bottom-of-the-barrel scraping pablum. All of the tracks here are standouts, but "As it Is", "Proof", "Another Life", and "You" deserve special mention, as the PMG are at the absolute top of their games, and incidentally, these fine performers really need to be seen live to truly appreciate their brilliant musicianship!