Release Date: Jun 12, 2012
Record label: Nonesuch
Metheny is a guitar superstar, or as close as anyone in contemporary jazz is ever likely to get. He can do whatever he likes, and does. Here he gathers three other top-flight players – saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Antonio Sanchez – and instead of doing an "all-stars" act to show off their combined technical brilliance, he relies on their rare talent for sensitive interplay.
On Unity Band, Pat Metheny reveals that he can look in two directions at once. The group he's assembled here is an all-star ensemble. Drummer Antonio Sanchez has been with him for a decade, while double bassist Ben Williams makes his first appearance with the guitarist, as does tenor saxophonist Chris Potter (whose soprano and bass clarinet playing are on display, too).
Pat Metheny's Unity Band is a wave to his fine album 80/81, which featured the late Michael Brecker and Dewey Redman on saxes. Their roles are merged here on a batch of new Metheny pieces by the versatile Chris Potter, accompanied by regular drummer Antonio Sanchez and gifted bass newcomer Ben Williams. The themes are typical Metheny: sensuous Latin grooves, synth-guitar fusion, folksy ballads, a good deal of jazz swing – and the rhythm section is mindboggling, not to mention beautifully recorded.
Guitarist Pat Metheny is, arguably, the biggest “star” in jazz since 1980. He has led popular bands that, by jazz standards, have sold many records. He has won Grammys. He has pioneered the use of a guitar-synth. He was signed to major labels and he has played in all-star groups and at ….
Arguably one of Metheny’s best releases in recent times. Kevin Le Gendre 2012 Although the obvious selling point here is that this is the first time in over three decades that the guitarist, part of the elite coterie of jazz artists under 60 who can sell out concert halls, has featured a tenor saxophonist in his band, there are other things to bear in mind. For a start, the incumbent, Chris Potter, is a multi-reed virtuoso who is as adept on soprano as he is bass clarinet, and both instruments bring a significant richness to the sound palette of what is arguably one of Metheny’s best releases in recent times.