GHS 24145 Still Life (Talking)
Produced by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays
Released on May 1987
US CHART POSITION #86 . . . GOLD RECORD . . .
WON GRAMMY FOR BEST FUSION JAZZ PERFORMANCE
Find it at GEMM
GHS 24145 cover  

I t took some time, but Still Life (Talking) finally spoke to me, its sedate mix of Latin-inflected smooth fusion weaving its subtle spell over the course of a dozen-plus sittings. The prior stumbling block had been the “smooth” portion; “Last Train Home” sounds like an Amtrak commercial waiting to happen, and the airy male voices in the mix initially seemed like so much fluff. But listening to “Minuano (Six-Eight)” is to hear a sweet sigh spill from the speakers, only to regain its posture (with an almost comic touch of pride) at the end. Likewise, the band’s buttery tones on “So May It Secretly Begin” and “(It’s Just) Talk” are wonderfully relaxing, the percussion that underpins the pieces equally refreshing. The same could be said of Still Life (Talking) in general. The music paints exotic landscapes in soft tones, watercolors flecked with vivid jungle oils, a world where even fires (“Third Wind”) burn cool. I’ve read that the album is based on Brazilian music; if that’s true (and I couldn’t tell you) it’s far more subdued than I would expect from Brazilian jazz. Even with seven players, the Pat Metheny Group never overwhelms their own melody with extraneous sounds, but rather rides an invisible wave that allows certain sounds to rise and fall in different passages. The album closes on a unique note, two instrumentals with minimal accompaniment that point to the progressive rock movement. Lyle Mays’ “Distance” recalls Eno’s washes of sound, while the lovely “In Her Family” ripples with the same refined airs as mid-career Genesis. I don’t know that I’d call the whole thing Grammy-good, but Still Life (Talking) is certainly clever in intent and the fusion of sounds often marvelous.

GHS 24145 back cover GHS 24145 picture sleeve
GHS 24145 back cover GHS 24145 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. MINUANO (SIX EIGHT)    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    9:25
  2. SO MAY IT SECRETLY BEGIN    (Pat Metheny)    6:24
  3. LAST TRAIN HOME    (Pat Metheny)    5:38
  4. (IT'S JUST) TALK    (Pat Metheny)    6:16
  5. THIRD WIND    (Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays)    8:33
  6. DISTANCE    (Lyle Mays)    2:43
  7. IN HER FAMILY    (Pat Metheny)    3:15

    All arrangements by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays

CREDITS

DAVID BLAMIRES -- voice
MARK LEDFORD -- voice
ARMANDO MARCAL -- percussion, voice
LYLE MAYS -- piano, keyboards
PAT METHENY -- acoustic & electric guitars, guitar synthesizers
STEVE RODBY -- acoustic & electric bass, associate producer
PAUL WERTICO -- drums, associate producer
Steve Cantor -- associate producer
David Oakes -- associate producer
Rob Eaton -- engineer
M&Co., New York -- design
David Katzenstein, Alexander Brebner, Andy Freeberg, Neil Selkirk, Phil Brodatz -- photos

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/CAN May 1987 Geffen LP/CD/CS GHS/GED 24145 picture sleeve

 

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