Pat Metheny: Back Arm & Blackcharge


Back Arm & Blackcharge


Pat Metheny (guitar, electric sitar, baritone and acoustic guitars)


Tokyo Day Trip: Live EP (Nonesuch)

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Pat Metheny (guitar, electric sitar, baritone and acoustic guitars), Christian McBride (bass),

Antonio Sanchéz (drums, orchestra bells)


Composed by Pat Metheny


Recorded: live in Tokyo, 2004


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

When Pat Metheny is feeling randy, the results can be unpredictable. In this case, however, the chaos is well under control. Sanchéz leads off with a wicked backbeat that heralds P.M.'s bellowing guitar playing a rapid succession of notes, punctuated by the last one repeated over two beats. What follows is a dizzying array of nifty tricks that would send most highly regarded musicians back to the woodshed: lightning-quick fractured lines, start-and-stop rhythms, and McBride's acoustic bass keenly aware of what the others are doing and matching them pulse for pulse. Metheny's guitar tone says Hendrix but the hillbilly jazz approach evokes Danny Gatton. It's jazz-rock that has all the intricacies of jazz and all the raw energy of rock.

Not all Metheny fans can warm up to "Back Arm & Blackcharge," but the sheer level of musicianship and creativity required to pull this off (in a live setting, no less) is undeniable even to those who count "Last Train Home" among his best songs.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron

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