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  • Tuesday, June 12, 2012
    Pat Metheny's "Unity Band" Out Now; "Unequivocally One of Metheny's Finest" (All About Jazz); Watch New Pat Metheny Podcast

    Pat Metheny's new album, Unity Band, is out today on Nonesuch Records. For the first time since his 1980 release 80/81, the guitarist has recorded with a band that features tenor saxophone. Unity Band introduces a new Metheny ensemble of the same name with Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and the up-and-coming Ben Williams on bass. The album features nine new Metheny compositions. Metheny, who discusses the album in his latest podcast, which you can watch below, says: "This is a group of musicians who can do just about anything.”

    The critics would seem to agree. In the UK, where the album was released yesterday, both the Evening Standard and the Guardian give the album four stars.

    "[T]he rhythm section is mindboggling, not to mention beautifully recorded," says the Guardian's John Fordham. "Metheny's blues/funk phrasing is as fresh as any of his recorded improvisations in recent times ... It's all about the playing skills of a dazzling band, which live shows will undoubtedly ram home even harder." Read the review at guardian.co.uk.

    The inclusion of Potter's sax and bass clarinet brings "a significant richness to the sound palette of what is arguably one of Metheny’s best releases in recent times," says BBC Music's Kevin Le Gendre. With a band that includes all of the top-notch players it does, "it is no surprise that playing standards are flawlessly high; so the real question is whether there is any chemistry in the ensemble as well as a sufficiently strong repertoire. The answer is yes, in both cases." Read the review at bbc.co.uk.

    ---

    Unity Band earns a perfect five out of five stars from Guitarist magazine, which describes it as "a sterling example of why Metheny is so relevant and respected today." The review concludes: "Metheny's rhythmic drive and dark harmonic shifts demonstrate why no one unifies old jazz traditions and new fusion sonics quite like him. Most impressive."

    All About Jazz exclaims that the new album is "unequivocally one of Metheny's finest."

    "In a time when compressed music is the norm—often removing the details an artist has worked so hard to capture in recording—it's great to have someone like guitarist Pat Metheny still paying attention to the very minutiae that can make a very, very good record great," writes All About Jazz Managing Editor John Kelman. "Unity Band would be a very, very good record under any circumstance."

    Kelman notes that the new band will be taking the music on the road, performing in venues across Europe and the United States this summer, leading him to imagine that "if Unity Band is already this incendiary, with such a defined collective sound at this early stage, heart monitors may be mandatory at the entrance to all shows, to ensure those with weak hearts aren't put at risk." (For tour details, go to nonesuch.com/on-tour.)

    In the end, Kelman suggests that the new album "will surely be considered another career highpoint" in Metheny's career, as the guitarist "continues to move from strength to strength." Unity Band, he concludes, "in its blending of form and freedom, is unequivocally one of Metheny's finest—an album that's sure to find its way to 'best of' lists for 2012 and, no doubt, another nomination when the Grammy Awards roll around again, to perhaps round him up to an even—and, in the world of jazz, unprecedented—twenty wins."

    Read the complete article at allaboutjazz.com.

    ---

    The Ottawa Citizen's Peter Hum, while acknowledging the album's links to the acclaimed 80/81, finds Unity Band to be "punchier, poppier and more tautly executed than its predecessor ... Unity Band is often remarkable for its hard-hitting exuberance and blockbuster intensity." Hum goes on to laud Metheny's writing on the new album as "uniformly strong, offering pure prettiness and high-energy vehicles for driving improvisations, occasionally in the same tune." Read the complete review at ottawacitizen.com.

    ---

    Watch the new Pat Metheny podcast featuring tracks from the new album here:

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Pat Metheny's "Unity Band" Out Now; "Unequivocally One of Metheny's Finest" (All About Jazz); Watch New Pat Metheny Podcast

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on June 12, 2012 - 10:53am
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 15:00
Excerpt: 

Pat Metheny's new album, Unity Band, featuring Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, Antonio Sanchez on drums, and Ben Williams on bass, is out now. The Evening Standard and the Guardian give the album four stars. BBC Music calls it "arguably one of Metheny’s best releases in recent times." Guitarist gives it five stars, calling it "a sterling example of why Metheny is so relevant and respected today ... Most impressive." All About Jazz says the new album is "unequivocally one of Metheny's finest—an album that's sure to find its way to 'best of' lists for 2012." Watch the new Pat Metheny podcast, featuring music from the album and commentary from Metheny, here.

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Pat Metheny's new album, Unity Band, is out today on Nonesuch Records. For the first time since his 1980 release 80/81, the guitarist has recorded with a band that features tenor saxophone. Unity Band introduces a new Metheny ensemble of the same name with Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and the up-and-coming Ben Williams on bass. The album features nine new Metheny compositions. Metheny, who discusses the album in his latest podcast, which you can watch below, says: "This is a group of musicians who can do just about anything.”

The critics would seem to agree. In the UK, where the album was released yesterday, both the Evening Standard and the Guardian give the album four stars.

"[T]he rhythm section is mindboggling, not to mention beautifully recorded," says the Guardian's John Fordham. "Metheny's blues/funk phrasing is as fresh as any of his recorded improvisations in recent times ... It's all about the playing skills of a dazzling band, which live shows will undoubtedly ram home even harder." Read the review at guardian.co.uk.

The inclusion of Potter's sax and bass clarinet brings "a significant richness to the sound palette of what is arguably one of Metheny’s best releases in recent times," says BBC Music's Kevin Le Gendre. With a band that includes all of the top-notch players it does, "it is no surprise that playing standards are flawlessly high; so the real question is whether there is any chemistry in the ensemble as well as a sufficiently strong repertoire. The answer is yes, in both cases." Read the review at bbc.co.uk.

---

Unity Band earns a perfect five out of five stars from Guitarist magazine, which describes it as "a sterling example of why Metheny is so relevant and respected today." The review concludes: "Metheny's rhythmic drive and dark harmonic shifts demonstrate why no one unifies old jazz traditions and new fusion sonics quite like him. Most impressive."

All About Jazz exclaims that the new album is "unequivocally one of Metheny's finest."

"In a time when compressed music is the norm—often removing the details an artist has worked so hard to capture in recording—it's great to have someone like guitarist Pat Metheny still paying attention to the very minutiae that can make a very, very good record great," writes All About Jazz Managing Editor John Kelman. "Unity Band would be a very, very good record under any circumstance."

Kelman notes that the new band will be taking the music on the road, performing in venues across Europe and the United States this summer, leading him to imagine that "if Unity Band is already this incendiary, with such a defined collective sound at this early stage, heart monitors may be mandatory at the entrance to all shows, to ensure those with weak hearts aren't put at risk." (For tour details, go to nonesuch.com/on-tour.)

In the end, Kelman suggests that the new album "will surely be considered another career highpoint" in Metheny's career, as the guitarist "continues to move from strength to strength." Unity Band, he concludes, "in its blending of form and freedom, is unequivocally one of Metheny's finest—an album that's sure to find its way to 'best of' lists for 2012 and, no doubt, another nomination when the Grammy Awards roll around again, to perhaps round him up to an even—and, in the world of jazz, unprecedented—twenty wins."

Read the complete article at allaboutjazz.com.

---

The Ottawa Citizen's Peter Hum, while acknowledging the album's links to the acclaimed 80/81, finds Unity Band to be "punchier, poppier and more tautly executed than its predecessor ... Unity Band is often remarkable for its hard-hitting exuberance and blockbuster intensity." Hum goes on to laud Metheny's writing on the new album as "uniformly strong, offering pure prettiness and high-energy vehicles for driving improvisations, occasionally in the same tune." Read the complete review at ottawacitizen.com.

---

Watch the new Pat Metheny podcast featuring tracks from the new album here:

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Pat Metheny: "Unity Band" [cover]

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