Pat Metheny: From His Place Select recordings

Sidebar: Select recordings by Pat Metheny


Bright Size Life (ECM, 1976)
With bassist Jaco Pastorius and drummer Bob Moses on his ECM debut, 21-year-old Metheny blasts off with an original sound and compositional style, performing original compositions plus Ornette Coleman's "Round Trip/Broadway Blues." The freshness, hardcore swing, and clear-headed inventiveness of Bright Size Life landed it at the National Recording Registry—a literal treasure.


80/81 (ECM, 1980)
If there was any doubt as to Metheny's status as a brilliant jazz guitarist and composer, 80/81 settled the issue. Joined by four of the other greatest musicians in jazz—Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Michael Brecker, and Jack DeJohnette—Metheny wrote specifically for each player, covering folk, avant-garde, free-ish jazz, and hard bop.


Offramp (ECM, 1982)
Recorded with percussionist Naná Vasconcelos as the first Pat Metheny Group was disintegrating, Offramp combines sensuousness, Brazilian rhythms, and synth guitar as if the band were some new, composite organism. "Are You Going With Me?" is a modern jazz standard, and "Barcarole," "Eighteen," and "James" are performed at nearly every Metheny performance.

First Circle (ECM, 1984)
With graceful drummer Paul Wertico bringing a lighter touch than is usual on a Pat Metheny album, and bassist Steve Rodby staying in the fold, First Circle is at once challenging and comforting, disorienting and explosive. The title track is one of Metheny's most popular compositions.


Still Life (Talking) (Geffen, 1987)
Still Life (Talking) is a perfect album. "Minuano" awakes gently as if from sleep. "So May It Secretly Begin" combines lush rhythms, humid moods, dark atmospheres, and immaculate solos from Metheny and Lyle Mays. "Last Train Home," one of his most popular songs, mirrors Metheny's love of trains with rugged sentiment.


Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories) (Verve, 1996)
Sharing the bill with Charlie Haden, a duet album by two Missouri natives, this beautiful recording is almost private in its intimacy. The duo covers Henry Mancini's "Two for the Road" and Jimmy Webb's "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress"; but the album's ultimate moment exists in Metheny's "Message to a Friend." Vinyl available only from Japan.


The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005)
Metheny pushes his Group to and through the future in an epic arrangement: The Way Up is a single 68-minute track. The last album with Mays and the end of the classic Pat Metheny group era, The Way Up includes all his trademarks, freshly combined.—Ken Micallef

remlab's picture

..first time. It still astonishes me to this day that two kids, not much older than myself at the time could be so musically mature and talented. I've been a big fan ever since.

avanti1960's picture

vintage Pat Metheny at the same time. I haven't been blown away like that from a musical work in a long time - if ever.
I have been a fan since 1979 hearing "new chautauqua" being played in a record store (Record Theater, Buffalo, NY). Bought it on the spot.
Also blown away at a concert near Chicago when female vocalists voiced the instrumental of "Song for Bilbao" what an amazing concert!
So many great albums, so many great songs. An incredible lifetime of achievement!
Thanks for the may years of music Pat, peace and God bless and please keep them coming!


Allen Fant's picture

Great interview- KM.
Big fan of PM here.

ken mac's picture

In the article I failed to mention the importance of engineer Pete Karam to not only the sound of "Road to the Sun," but also, "From This Place."

From Pat: "Pete Karam did 95% of the recording of From This Place, and also basically every recording of any kind I have done for the past 25 years or so now. There are tons of things I refer to about From This Place that he was intimately involved with. He, along with Steve Rodby, have been the most important people for me over these past decades to get the results that shows up on the recordings. Also, Pete [is an] avid Stereophile reader."

John Atkinson's picture
Ken Micallef didn't mention one of my favorite Pat Metheny albums with Lyle Mays, "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls" -,_So_Falls_Wichita_Falls.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Musigny's picture

Pat & Lyle's Wichita is a beauty unlike any other out there. How did they achieve it? I guess it's a mystery. I don't know how many times I've heard it from start to finish. Hundreds. And I keep returning to it. Hemingway said, reading old favourite books is like visiting your old friends. Maybe my old friend is As Falls Wichita album. I remember reading somewhere they had some ideas for a sequel. Shame never happened.
Also: for Pat Metheny fans, my highest recommendation is Jack DeJohnette's Parallel Realities, both studio and live albums. It's a great quartet with Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Jack and Pat playing high quality material. And love Lyle: his self titled 1986 album, and Street Dreams 1988, and that solo piano album are all terrific.

ken mac's picture

Pat's side projects that sound excellent could fill a book. He's also great on Michael Brecker's Impulse! debut, Joshua Redman's Wish, Gary Burton's Passengers, Rejoicing with Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) with Charlie Haden, I Can See Your House from Here with John Scofield.

Herb Reichert's picture

it's been stalking me for decades


ken mac's picture

gleaming molars

Trevor_Bartram's picture

I was sold after seeing his group perform on the Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC TV in the early 80s. So not: jazz, rock, blues or classical; simply Metheny. First Circle was one of the very first CDs I purchased in 1985.