Guitarist Pat Metheny is doing some of the best work of his career these days, particularly when it comes to his more straight-ahead jazz work. On TRIO 99-00, Metheny's flanked by bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart, a solid and supportive rhythm team that provides an uncluttered foundation on which the leader can roam. Metheny, on both electric and acoustic guitars, displays his spectacular technique and distinctive harmonic approach on lyrical originals and well chosen outside material. If the leader's dashing playing remains in the spotlight, the session never degenerates into a basic blowing session. Obvious thought has gone into the project: Coltrane's "Giant Steps," usually used as a chance for players to display their massive chops at dashing speed, is slowed down and given a bridge, lending the piece an entirely different feel; an unlikely standard, "A Lot of Livin' to Do" from "Bye Bye Birdie" is both reharmonized and reconceived in terms of tempo, while the trio's take on Wayne Shorter's "Capricorn" confers new life to an overlooked gem. Two Metheny ballads -- "We Had a Sister" (first heard on Joshua Redman's WISH) and "Travels" (a Lyle Mays collaboration originally recorded on the live album TRAVELS) -- feature poetic acoustic guitar readings, displaying the pensive atmosphere that Metheny carefully builds to balance his more spectacular instrumental flights.
|Label:||Warner Bros / Wea|