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Pat Metheny's open-hearted odyssey through music has encompassed fleet jazz, garage rock, and avant-garde chaos, but this 1987 hit finds its most significant wrinkle in the band's increased emphasis on Brazilian accents and vocalise choruses, using three singers (including percussionist-vocalist Armando Marcal and singers David Blamires and Mark Ledford) to augment the core quartet of Metheny, keyboardist Lyle Mays, bassist Steve Rodby, and drummer Paul Wertico. Metheny by now comfortably integrates his own guitar synthesizers into Mays's seasoned electronic orchestrations, and Still Life (Talking) is by turns sunny, wistful, and kinetic. The Brazilian aesthetic gives us the lovely opener, "Minuano (Six Eight)" and colors "So May It Secretly Begin." Metheny's instinctive, American sensibility is rooted in his Plains upbringing and the prairie-wide sound that his music has always evoked. The album's best-known piece, "Last Train Home," revives the sound of electric sitar to unexpected emotional effect. --Sam Sutherland
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 4.94 x 0.45 inches; 3.68 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Geffen Records
- Date First Available : December 15, 2006
- Label : Geffen Records
- ASIN : B000000OQD
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #292,661 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
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Don't misunderstand me...there are truly some wonderful things happening on "Still Life (Talking)" like the energetic and complex opening rhythms of "Minuano" and the melodic wanderlust found on "Last Train Home"...but unfortunately with this album there are also the first indications that some of Metheny's music was beginning to drift dangerously close to the mediocrity heard frequently in public elevators (on tracks like "So May It Secretly Begin.") Moreover, the vocal work found on his 1982 release "Offramp" and 1984's "First Circle" is far more complex and interesting than the vocal arrangments on "Still Life." (Check out the album "First Circle" for example, and the incomparable vocals on the title track and on tunes like "Tell It All.")
On many of the tracks from "Still Life" and especially on his subsequent albums through the years, Metheny has his vocalist simply repeating the same melody line he is playing over and over again on guitar. (EXAMPLE OF FORMULA: Metheny plays melody line on guitar, then vocalist joins in and sings melody along with Metheny, then Metheny improvises, then keyboardist and co-writer Lyle Mays often improvises...BIG CRESCENDO!...then vocalist and Metheny repeat the melody line again, then the song ends.) The tried-and-true Metheny formula is often reassuring...occasionally even invigorating, but unfortunately not real exciting music on later releases.
Metheny discovered a very unique, distinct and exciting musical sound with "First Circle" but with later Group albums, while intending perhaps to expand on these same ideas, he only revisits them (over and over and over again.) Metheny's "Secret Story" released in 1992 is one of a few exceptions, of course....an outstanding recording with a truly exciting and visionary musical concept.
Metheny has consistently been my favorite musical artist over the years and I feel certain he has not yet exhausted his ubiquitous storehouse of ideas. Perhaps he should return for a time to experimenting with more eccentric vocalists like Nana Vasconcelos who could lend an entirely different perspective to his now-familiar arrangements or perhaps he should attempt a completely different instrumental arrangement (better still...Metheny should revisit the darker realms of some earlier projects like "Offramp," which still contain a plethora of musical ideas which have yet to be explored.)
Many albums later and I still think this is the best of the lot closely followed by the '78 "white" self titled album.
Its got a heavy Latin influence to it. My favorite tracks are Minuano(Six-Eight),So May It Secretly Begin and Thrid Wind.
If you like jazz and/or guitar you owe it to yourself to check out this gem!