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Speaking of Now

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Audio CD, February 12, 2002
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Speaking of Now + The Way Up + Imaginary Day
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Speaking Of Now is the most momentous album in years from the most honored ensemble in contemporary jazz, the Pat Metheny Group. With a new lineup, including a horn player for the first time and two vocalists, "as has happened at a few other junctures in the band's story," says Metheny, "there is this sense of the possibilities feeling totally unlimited." With Speaking Of Now, the Pat Metheny Group takes a significant step into tomorrow.

Throughout its 25-year history, the Pat Metheny Group has consistently had the power to reinvent itself, developing an ever-broader musical vision. Speaking of Now reflects substantial changes since the band was last assembled. The core remains intact, with Lyle Mays, Metheny's composing partner since the beginning, still contributing keyboards and some eloquent acoustic piano. Bassist Steve Rodby is here as well, but there are some new additions. Mexican-born drummer Antonio Sanchez is a creative fountain of rhythm, while Richard Bona, from Cameroon, has joined the band on vocals and percussion. There's an unearthly serenity in Bona's high-pitched vocals and they've clearly shaped some of the composing here. Trumpeter Cuong Vu's presence marks the first time a horn player has been a member of PMG, and his laconic, airy trumpet is a perfect complement to Metheny's guitar. The Group has always had the ability to fuse elements from different cultures into a graceful and floating whole, but this version sets new standards for sheer sonic beauty, like the welling orchestral breadth that underscores Bona's voice on "You." Highlights seem to abound, but the guitar solos on "Proof" and "A Place in the World" testify to Metheny's inspiration. --Stuart Broomer

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Song Title Time Price
  1. As It Is 7:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Proof10:15Album Only
  3. Another Life 7:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. The Gathering Sky 9:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. You 8:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. On Her Way 5:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. A Place In The World 9:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Afternoon 4:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Wherever You Go 8:03$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00005V6IF
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,237 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kynan Kourday on February 22, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Once again, the Pat Metheny Group has reinvented themselves with the addition of 3 new members. Antonio Sanchez on drums adds a whole new level of excitement with his superlative percussion work. Cuong Vu becomes the first dedicated trumpet player and his spacey Mark Isham like sound fits perfectly into the dense harmonic arrangements of their music. Finally, Richard Bona's deep and smooth vocal style rekindles the Brazilian aspects of the group which were left out in their previous CD Imaginary Day.
Speaking of Now is 71 minutes of tight, intense, uplifting, and musically complex sounds that this group has never put together before on one single recording. There is not one single track on this recording that you won't want to listen to over and over again. A few tracks deserve special mention, as they are show stoppers when they take this CD on their 2002 World Tour.
"Proof" is modern jazz at its finest, with an intense electrifying sound to it, even though both Lyle Mays (piano) and Cuong Vu (trumpet) solo on acoustic instruments. Pat Metheny's blistering dissonant electric guitar solo is one his most creative and exciting ever recorded in the studio, and you cannot help but marvel at the interplay between the guitar, bass by Steve Rodby, and drums by Antonio Sanchez. Lyle's piano solo is equally complex and demanding as he has never sounded better in the PMG's group context. His solo on this track alone exemplifies how he is one of the finest jazz pianists of our day.
"A Place in the World" is simply a stunning composition reminiscent of "The First Circle" from the 1980's when Pedro Aznar was their first featured vocalist. Again, Lyle delivers a well paced and harmonically dense solo that fits the piece like a glove.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By William Merrill TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The praiseworthy aspects of this new PMG disc are so numerous, but let me mention just a few.
First and most important, the songs all have an open, soaring and joyful quality that says the human spirit can endure and even triumph over sorrow - certainly a most relevant message for today. Longtime fans of Pat and the PMG know that the Metheny-Mays songwriting partnership has yielded many such uplifting compositions, but Speaking Of Now is positively chock-full of them.
Second, there are the wonderful performances by each member of the group. The new CD gives each musician several chances to step forward into the spotlight, but of course the synergy from the different players working together is what produces the greatest moments of transcendence. The 3 newest members add unique flavors to the group's sound, especially trumpeter Cuong Vu, a Vietnamese American now living in NYC. Drummer Antonio Sanchez (from Mexico) and vocalist/percussionist Richard Bona (Cameroon) also provide very valuable contributions.
A third element I really dig about the CD is the diversity of the material. Things like Pat's liquid guitar lines and Lyle Mays' resonant piano chords are very familiar, but those elements are now offered in new and varied settings like the dreamy folk-pop of "You" or a busy urban collage ("Proof"). Wordless vocals have long been a characteristic of PMG albums going all the way back to Nana Vasconcelos' tenure, but Mr. Bona's singing gives the songs more of an earthly context that contrasts nicely with all the lightness of Pat and Lyle's often airy textures. Sometimes it almost sounds like he is singing a lyric, but when I listen closely I can't make out any actual words.
Just 2 other notes:
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Travis Wade Evans on February 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Pat Metheny Group have really challenged themselves musically since its inception 25 years ago. The results have been very delightful and impressive and of course their multiple grammy's are well deserved. Pat Metheny Group has found a very significant spot in modern jazz. I have listened to their latest recording "Speaking of Now" from Warner Bros. It is a magnificent documentation of how expansive music and jazz in particular can be. The album most closely resembles some of their earlier recordings including "First Circle", however the Group has gone places musically where they have never gone before with the addition of three new band members. We hear traces of African music, Jazz, Blues, and Pop music on this album.
1. As It Is 7:40
This piece starts off beautifully with a "Beatles like" beat. Pat plays guitar synthesizer about 3 minutes and 20 seconds into the recording and his playing is complimented by Antonios wonderful rythmic patterns and Steve's supportive bass line. A great tune.
2. Proof 10:13
This one is fast paced and shows off Antonios' unique drumming skills. It is one piece that has a straight ahead jazz feel to it where Pat and Lyle provide killer solos. Cuong Vu plays trumpet flawlessly.
3. Another Life 7:08
This tune starts off with a beautiful vocal segment from Richard and Coung and is proceeded with Pat playing acoustic guitar. It falls back into the vocal segment, then Pat picks up again on acoustic guitar. A very beautiful piece.
4. The Gathering Sky 9:22
This piece starts off with an African pop flavored beat it continues into an optimistic and highly melodic piece, eventually picking up speed. As the piece gets closer to the end Lyle gets on the synthesizer and does his thing with exotic percussion in the background.
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