Day Trip says nothing but says it sweetly.
Nick Reynolds 2008-01-15
This new album finds guitarist Pat Metheny on solid ground. You know exactly where you are from the opening bars of Son Of Thirteen. It's a typical post-bop theme with a vaguely Latin feel and it kicks off an album that follows the classic jazz trio format.
Metheny hooks up with his regular partners, Christian McBride on double bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. As you'd expect for musicians who have played hundreds of dates together they're very comfortable in each other's company, with McBride really shining throughout.
The music is slick and relaxed and Metheny's playing is inventive with a light, bright tone. Let's Move is uptempo and tough while At Last You're Here, Snova and Dreaming Trees are more reflective. Taken as a whole the album is a perfectly pleasant, and that's the problem.
You can't deny Metheny's technical prowess but his tone can be bland and cloying in places. He still can't resist the temptation of turning on the horrible guitar synthesiser half way through When We Were Free just when it was shaping up to be one of the album's best tracks. Meanwhile Calvin's Keys tries for a classic jazz shuffle but is too loose and fluffy to swing as hard as it should.
To many ears it may appear that Metheny doesn’t seem to have anything interesting to say. Is This America? (Katrina 2005) is a pretty acoustic theme with an odd resemblance to Danny Boy. But the title of the track asks questions that the music does not. If he is trying to express something about Hurricane Katrina, it's not clear.
These things may bother casual listeners yet they won’t bother Metheny’s legion of admirers for whom the Missouri boy is still the stripey-shirted king of modern jazz guitar. In the end, Day Trip says nothing but says it sweetly.