Pat Metheny - Unity Band (Nonesuch) 

Metheny’s daring choice of sidemen energizes him

It was starting to look like Pat Metheny was becoming a misanthrope. After all, it had been almost five years since the guitarist had played with anyone else on record, choosing to go solo with an acoustic guitar on 2011's What's It All About and, on the most extreme end, creating a virtual army of robo-musicians to do his bidding on 2010's Orchestrion. Thankfully Unity Band, as its title suggests, debunks this theory in a hurry. However, based on Unity Band's roster, it does suggest that Metheny is becoming more selective than ever in his choice of collaborators, featuring the kind of stacked lineup that accompanies only the most rarefied occasions: Chris Potter on tenor (the only other time Metheny featured sax was on 1980's 80/81, when he had Michael Brecker and Dewey Redman), Ben Williams on bass, and Antonio Sánchez behind the kit. More promisingly, Metheny's choice of sidemen reveals a real sense of daring. Neither Potter nor Williams had ever played with the guitarist, and all four individually possess vastly divergent styles — Metheny's smooth lyricism, Potter's forceful free-jazz leanings, Williams's hip-hop grounding, Sánchez's Afro-Cuban pedigree — that would seem to undermine the unity concept. Instead, the unique interplay results in Metheny's most inspired record in years. Even though the unfamiliar surroundings don't push Metheny's own playing into the uncharted territory he may have been seeking, they have clearly energized him. Let's hope he stays a people person.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation