Pat Metheny: Sueño Con Mexico


Sueno Con Mexico


Pat Metheny (guitar, electric bass)


Works (ECM 823 270-2)

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Pat Metheny (guitar, electric bass).

Composed by Pat Metheny


Recorded: Oslo, Norway, August 1978


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Works is a compilation album featuring selected cuts from Pat Metheny's ECM catalog released from 1979 through 1983. "Sueño Con Mexico" first appeared on his album New Chautauqua.

Metheny has enjoyed a long and successful commercial jazz career. I seem to be in the minority among his fans. I like most of his stuff, but much prefer him in experimental or "outside-the-box" mode. For instance, his controversial 1994 album Zero Tolerance for Silence caused such a stir among his legions of fans that many thought he had gone off his rocker. Many music critics believed the same thing. How could a deeply sonorous guitar player such as Metheny produce an ugly record full of cacophonous electronics? Many people were offended. But I found it to be brave.

In a different way, I find his performance of "Sueño Con Mexico" to be brave as well. In form and substance it is the opposite of anything on Zero Tolerance. For starters it is Metheny on acoustic guitar. But the tune hangs there like an impressionistic painting. It is not full of the infectious propulsive hooks most Metheny aficionados love. It is a beautifully subtle and nuanced ballad painted with pastels. It was designed to give you a gentle introspective nudge, not knock you over with a blunt instrument.

I look for risk taking in music or any other art for that matter. It does not always have to be there. But it has to be there sometimes. Risk can come in different forms. A quiet musician may play loud. A loud musician may play quiet. Melody may be sacrificed for tension and vice versa. There are a million ways to take a chance. A musician must do so in order to fulfill his or her potential. I often wonder how artists who do not take chances live with themselves.

Pat Metheny is one of those rare jazz musicians who can play accessible commercial jazz music and not be considered to be selling out in some way. He has found a way to use his virtuosity to bridge that unseen gap between expectations and results. That in itself is a substantial achievement. But he can only do that because he occasionally plays music that some of his fans may not expect or even like. This proposition applies even to such a pleasing tune as "Sueño Con Mexico."

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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