Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Essential Tracks: "Phase Dance", Album: "Pat Metheny Group" - Pat Metheny

Essential tracks highlights tracks that arguably should be found somewhere in any serious jazz collector's library. This segment is also meant to inspire readers to seek out foundational tracks from the various sub-genres of this great music.

"Phase Dance", ECM Records release "Pat Metheny Group", 1978

This track quietly catapulted Pat Metheny from a relative unknown to a profound presence on the jazz scene. Forget about "rising star"; he pretty much bypassed that whole period. At the time of a lot of emerging rock-flavored jazz releases, Metheny's new band split right between straight-ahead and fusion. This was a completely new and distinctive sound.

First of all, it's a seven minute track. It starts out gently, quickly comes to a simmer, and before you know it, they're cooking at a rapid boil pace. I remember first hearing it in a Berkeley, CA record (yes, record) store. It crept up on me and a dozen other people in the store at the time. It was as though we collectively had to know just who this was they were playing, at about 4 minutes into the track. The whole stream of us, without a word, walked over to the turntable, saw what was playing, then immediately went to the rack and grabbed a copy.

Almost everyone that has heard Pat Metheny and his music has latched on and continued to follow him. "Phase Dance" was the track that started that magnetic attraction.

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