The latest from Pat Metheny, Trio 99-00, smokes through a few great post-bop jazz tunes, before hitting the wall that is repetition and typicality. Then it comes charging back with even more killer stuff, only to falter again towards the end. This is a problem, for as we all know, an album that can’t make up its mind is a terrible thing to listen to.
Pat Metheny—as we all may or may not know—has played on wax with the likes of Bruce Hornsby and Bela Fleck—on Hornsby’s Hot House—and on tour with Herbie Hancock.
His guitar playing is good throughout, but is not without its bows to the conventional. Metheny tries to rack up some cool points with the jazz sensation that is octave sliding, but at times, he just sounds stale and flat. The drumming is straight out of the be-bop era, with loud crashes on the snare and distant sounding symbols. However, this effort to sound authentic sometimes seems to muck up the general sound of the recording.
There are a few tracks of treats, including the closing “Travels,” performed with Metheny on acoustic and the band kicking back for a little simple sound, but on the whole, the album does nothing to distinguish itself from so much of the filler put out by the recording industry of today.
This album shows off the maturity that comes with years of being on the spot, but its lack of excitement failed to hold my attention for any extended period of time. This is the mark of another middle-of-the-road jazz guitar album, and despite the reputation of Mr. Metheny, I can’t quite recommend it.