Still Life (Talking)
Pat Metheny’s love of Brazilian music comes into full bloom on 1987’s Still Life (Talking); it’s not the only stylistic element at play here, but it’s the most striking one. “Minuano (Six Eight),” the album’s longest cut at almost ten minutes, is a radiant gem that brings to mind the work of the Brazilian singer/songwriter Milton Nascimento. (The wordless vocalizing, in particular, evokes that unique and mysterious artist from Minas Gerais.) But Metheny’s tasteful guitar and Paul Wertico’s brisk drumming usher the piece into the world of jazz, while Lyle Mays’s keyboard parts tip it back toward pop/rock. The band is highly polished and coupled with Matheny’s crystalline production, the sound of the title track — and the rest of the album — sparkles. “Third Wind” is the disc’s other standout. Metheny’s statement of the theme has an attractively slippery feel and his lightning-fast solo somehow comes off as easygoing rather than flashy. Ethereal vocals, Latin percussion, and unusual keyboards pull “Third Wind” in different directions, resulting in a cut that is both complex and distinctive.