Day Trip

Day Trip

Pat Metheny has led his quartet, the Pat Metheny Group (which includes the keyboardist Lyle Mays) since the 1970s, but every now and then the jazz guitarist releases a trio album, and it’s always exciting to hear him in this stripped-down context. The rhythm section on Day Trip includes bassist Christian McBride and Mexican-born drummer Antonio Sanchez, who has frequently worked with Metheny. Sanchez is an active percussionist: a thousand ever-shifting details mark the flow of his playing. McBride is clearly the anchor of the band; without his solidity this ship might get a little rocky. “When We Were Free,” a piece in triple meter, feels like a classic (it appeared on 1996’s Quartet), while “Let’s Move” alternates between atmospheric plucking and the drive of fusion-informed post bop. It’s easy to imagine Wes Montgomery tackling the blues-inflected “Calvin’s Keys,” but Metheny slinkily weaves through the song in his own inimitable way. The guitarist switches to acoustic and McBride picks up his bow for “Is This America? (Katrina 2005),” a touching gospel-and-folk-tinged cut that sits halfway through—and at the heart of — the album.

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