ECM-1-1216 Offramp
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Released on 1982
US JAZZ ALBUMS CHART POSITION #1 . . . Won GRAMMY for Best Jazz Fusion Performance (1982)
Find it at GEMM
ST-ECM-1-1216 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

T he best of the Pat Metheny albums I’ve heard so far. Offramp marks a departure from the “cold” Oslo recordings of the past into warmer terrain, a style that would serve the Pat Metheny Group well through the ‘80s. The journey begins with “Barcarole” (the name refers to a gondolier-like song), and soon we’re immersed in a jungle river tour, our senses scratched by exotic sounds, light and dark shapes darting. As his last album revealed, Pat Metheny’s affinity for muted, mournful and masked guitar sounds shared a kinship with the work of “avant garde” guitarists like Robert Fripp and Andy Summers, so prog fans may find Offramp a pleasant detour. (Yeah, sorry about that, I’m sure every review of Offramp has a bad “detour” or “exit” or traffic joke in it somewhere.) The album’s high points (to my mind) are “Au Lait,” which the band literally breathes life into, and the cranky “Offramp.” However, fans of his later, smoother work are just as likely to embrace an “Eighteen” or “James,” especially if they enjoy Metheny’s guitar front and center. For much of Offramp, Metheny’s guitar is elusive, molded by the guitar synthesizer into sounds that first strike the senses as a horn or keyboard. While the album’s extraordinary range makes it a challenge to like everything on here--so much separates an “Eighteen” and “Offramp” for example--it does keep you on your toes. By contrast, I found myself lulled into sleep sometimes by the warm, easy currents of a Still Life (Talking). New bassist Steve Rodby gets a chance to strut his stuff on “Offramp” but otherwise remains in the background. In fact the rhythm section of Gottlieb and Rodby might have generated more heat together, but it’s percussionist Nana Vasconcelos who often makes his presence felt the most among the three. Mixing smooth jazz with avant garde and environmental mood pieces, you’ll turn a few tight corners on your way along this Offramp, but there’s no doubt that the Pat Metheny Group was headed for big things. No longer the blue-ice-chip prospect, this is the work of a major talent.

ECM-1-1216 back cover ECM-1-1216 ECM insert
ECM-1-1216 back cover ECM-1-1216 ECM insert

TRACK LISTING

  1. BARCAROLE    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays/Nana Vasconcelos)    3:17
  2. ARE YOU GOING WITH ME?    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    8:47
  3. AU LAIT    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    8:32
  4. EIGHTEEN    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays/Nana Vasconcelos)    5:08
  5. OFFRAMP    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    5:59
  6. JAMES    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    6:47
  7. THE BAT part II    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    3:50

CREDITS

DAN GOTTLIEB -- drums
LYLE MAYS -- piano, synthesizer, autoharp, organ, synclavier
PAT METHENY -- guitar synthesizer, guitar, synclavier guitar
STEVE RODBY -- acoustic and electric bass
NANA VASCONCELOS -- percussion, voice, berimbau
Jan Erik Kongshaug -- engineer, mix engineer
Gragg Lunsford -- engineer (5)
Gerd Winner -- cover graphic
Deborah Feingold -- liner photos
Dieter Rehm -- design

return to PAT METHENY GROUP discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/UK/GER 1982 ECM LP/CS ECM-1-1216  
BRA 1983 Polygram LP 2301 216  
JPN   ECM LP PAP 25533 insert
YUG   RTB LP 221236  
US November 16, 1999 ECM CD 817 138  
JPN March 30, 2004 Universal CD UCCU-9543 gold CD

 

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