congo Vu Trio MeeTS PaT MeTheny
Nonesuch ✪✪✪ ✪✪
Metheny has never been fearful of venturing into fresh realms and this new release is one helluva journey! Working with The Congo Vu Trio (trumpeter Congo Vu, bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor), the results sound at times like early BBC Radiophonic Workshop meets free jazz (Dr Who sharing a pot of tea with Ornette Coleman?). This is the case with the opener, Acid Kiss - nine minutes of episodic quirkiness and explosive interplay. Things settle on Not Crazy (Just Giddy Upping), where the juddery rhythms underpin a seductively chromatic main head and exciting solo; it’s jazz, albeit with gleaming new wheels! While Metheny isn’t known for aggressive tones, Tiny Little Pieces crescendos with his screaming ‘distorted-plustrademark synth trumpet’ phrasing as the band dips and dives around him. The album is as much about quartet interplay as dynamic or timbral explorations; certainly, Metheny is as happy comping behind Vu’s trumpet as letting go with mournful bends and twisting sequential phrases. If you think of Metheny as a traditionalist, this should realign your perceptions!