Label: Eagle Vision - EVBRD 33301-9 • Format: Blu-ray • Country: US • Genre: Jazz • Style: Fusion
Made famous in the late '70s, Pat Metheny has built a reputation for being a constant innovator in his subgenre of jazz fusion. With the inception of The Pat Metheny Group, he established an appetite for perfection that's never been quenched.
Several members have come and gone, but two things have remained constant -- Pat Metheny on the guitar and Lyle Mays on the keys. The two have been recording together since Metheny's second album, "Watercolors," and their improvisation is a display of both mastery and experience. Over the course of thirteen albums, The Pat Metheny Group has gained a following of loyal fans. However, Hellbound - MX - Collections release of "The Way Up" in split those fans into two camps -- people intrigued by the extremes to which Metheny was exploring progressive jazz, and people who were annoyed.
Some longtime fans felt betrayed by the band's apparent stylistic departure and message boards were packed with messages, illustrating the mixed reactions. Interestingly enough, as it stands on its own, Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up - Live (Blu-ray) Way Up" is more akin to a classical masterpiece composed with jazz stylings than anything else.
It's this defiance of expectations that drew outrage from fans, but that's also exactly what sets Pat Metheny apart from other musicians who Letzte Bestellung - K.G.B. - Letzte Bestellung deliver what's expected. Rounding out the artists is guest performer Nando Lauria who sings, plays guitar, and tackles other instruments as well. The symphonic performance is tough to categorize sincee there aren't any songs per se.
Like the studio album, the concert is actually a continuous instrumental movement, divided only Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up - Live (Blu-ray) name "Opening," "Part One," "Part Two," and "Part Three". That being said, the music is so engaging and dynamic that it held my Pinhead - Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop At Cbgbs!! Also Starring.
Dead Boys Blondie (VHS) throughout. Not everyone will be pleased -- some music fans will find the lack of melodic structure a turn off, and it does take a bit of patience to enjoy the performance in the way Metheny intends. Jazz junkies will also have a hit-or-miss relationship with 'The Way Up: Live' because it stretches conventional jazz to the near-breaking point.
Improvisation is merely the fuel behind something more organic and evolutionary -- although I'm not sure I enjoyed where this evolution took me. Metheny fans, particuarly those who loved the original album, will be right at home as the band continues along down the pathway they've been traveling since the mid-eighties. Metheny makes his way through a variety of guitars throughout the performance and really seems to sink deep into the music.
The musicians are all engaging, Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up - Live (Blu-ray) the only major downside for those already enjoying the music coming from the fact that the concert isn't visually striking. Band members are usually flooded by one tone of light that occasionally shifts color and there isn't much to keep an audience interested if they're not completely sold on the band's sound.
For the uninitiated, it's an intriguing performance that will at least give you something to think about. To be fair though, this sort of concert isn't for general music fans, so tread carefully if you're not sure of what to expect. To its credit, black levels are nice, colors are vibrant, and fine object detail is well rendered. Stubble and hair are crisp, edges are sharp, and facial details like pores and freckles are easily seen. The Kill Your Parents - Random Killing - Re-Issued itself is devoid of noise and even the darkest corners avoid troublesome crush issues.
Contrast levels are very dramatic and I was impressed with the three-dimensional illusion of the image overall. My biggest issue with this transfer is that there isn't a lot going on to put the picture to a real test. The musicians are static for the most part, lighting is single toned, and the stark colors don't leave a lot of room for proper shadow delineation. There aren't any moments that have an impact and the visuals amount to little more than a technically solid bore.
For those of you unsure of which version to chose, there is no discernable difference between the picture quality of the HD DVD and Blu-ray editions of this release. This release features three audio Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up - Live (Blu-ray) -- a well rounded Dolby Digital-Plus 5. However, no single audio option provides the best of all worlds. As usual, I can't wrap my head around why concert discs like this one avoid uncompressed 5. As it stands, the concert atmosphere is best reproduced by the Dolby 5.
I found myself flipping back and forth in an attempt to fake it, but I only grew frustrated and distracted. A mix of the two would've made me contemplate a perfect audio rating. The acoustics and soundfield immersion on the Dolby surround Buckeye Jim - Judy Henske - High Flying Bird is wonderful -- crowd noise and echoes loft from the rear speakers across the channels as the music dominates the stage ahead.
On the flip side, the guitar and piano notes are gloriously stable on the uncompressed track -- treble tones are crisp, bass tones Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up - Live (Blu-ray) more presence, and the mix boasts an astounding dynamic range that brings the Pat Metheny Group - The Way Up - Live (Blu-ray) to life.
On both of these tracks, the instrumentation is expertly prioritized and Metheny's guitars don't dominate the day as one might expect from a man whose name is central to the band's identity. Pick your poison -- concert fans will enjoy the liveliness of the Dolby surround mix and music enthusiasts will adore the clarity of the uncompressed stereo track.
If you want both, you'll have to settle on one or the other. The sound seemed slightly muddled and was more what I'd expect from a standard DVD sound package. The lone featurette on this high-def release is also available on the standard DVD, but here it's presented in a lovely p.
It features a twenty-two minute interview with Pat Metheny -- an introspective, thoughtful, and engaging man in person who really understands his craft and his music. I would highly recommend this featurette to anyone, even those who didn't enjoy the band's fusion performance. Metheny discusses the history of the band, old and new friendships, the changing times, and the evolution of his music.
It really seemed as if he was enjoying the chance to chat with fans and makes it clear that he feels ecstatic to play jazz for a living. The Pat Metheny Group isn't for everyone -- they provide a challenging blend of progressive and fusion jazz that's more concerned with defying convention than creating exquisite melodies.
Those new to Metheny should give him a try, but know that it takes a very specific taste to enjoy this sort of music. The video is technically solid but simplistic, the one excellent supplement isn't enough to keep you around, and the concert itself is a tough slog if you don't enjoy it right away. However, the audio quality is top notch -- I just wish the disc had an uncompressed surround mix instead of forcing me to chose between the live atmosphere and the music itself.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. Founded in AprilHigh-Def Damiana - Angry Tears - Angry Tears is the ultimate guide for High-Def enthusiasts who demand only the best that money can buy.
Updated daily and in real-time, we track all high-def disc news and release dates, and review the latest disc titles. Blu-ray: Worth a Look. Leave A Comment. Final Thoughts. Previous Next. Dark Waters Archer: The Complete Season Seven. Midway Digital.
He Is My Lawyer (Short Version) - Power Of Attorney - He Is My Lawyer, Platform Diving - Oils - Platform Diving Lessons, Wounded Knee - Floyd Westerman - Custer Died For Your Sins / The Land Is Your Mother, Johnny Chester - The Hits Of Johnny Chester