Monday, 13 February 2017
Pat Metheny / Ornette Coleman - Song X (1986)
Unfortunately for Eicher, come 1985 Metheny was ready for a new challenge, and parted ways with ECM to land on David Geffen's burgeoning stable. And what a fresh start Song X was - kicking off with the lightning-speed title track, this was free jazz updated for the amphetamine-yuppie era, and would've blown Huey and Genesis out of the water if introduced to Patrick Bateman's CD collection. The 13-minute Endangered Species goes even further out, with Metheny exercising judicious use of the guitar synth (and wisely restraining himself from it for the bulk of the album, not unlike Belonging from three years prior, also with Haden).
The second half of the album is more accesible, and mellows out considerably with the gorgeous Kathelin Gray. The clean production throughout (another ECM similarity!) ensures that you can get the most enjoyment possible out of each contributor, without the knottier passages becoming cluttered. A stunning high watermark in 80s jazz.
alt. link (zippy)