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Pat Metheny Group – Travels

September 8, 2021
Travels 1983 ECM
Pat Metheny Group (PMG):
Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby, Dan Gottlieb, and Nana Vasconcelos

This was the first Pat Metheny Group (PMG) live album. It captured the tour in support of Offramp. This is a great sample of the PMG life-to-date catalog circa 1983. It includes some of their best known material. However, over half the tracks were entirely new and have not been heard, before or since, on any studio album. So unlike typical live recordings that are merely a live greatest hits collection, this is a worthy stand alone collection and legit successor to Offramp.

I saw PMG around this time and they were fantastic. So this album is a sentimental sonic souvenir from that time.

The PMG for this album was: Pat Metheny (guitar), Lyle Mays (keyboards), Steve Rodby (bass), Dan Gottlieb (drums), and Nana Vasconcelos (percussion). Pat plays acoustic and electric guitars and like Offramp he features a lot of guitar synthesizer. The primary focus is on Pat and Lyle Mays. As usual their interplay is fantastic. Nana’s percussion is not a mere embellishment, but an essential ingredient.

There are some special moments on the album. For example, Pat said in an interview, soon after this album’s release, that he preferred Travels’ version of ‘Are You Going With Me?’ to the Offramp original. I have to agree.

I bought this album when it first came out. Like most ECM releases, it is well recorded (it is studio quality, despite being live), mixed and pressed. The Master (MQA) stream on Tidal sounds great too.

If you are new to PMG this is an excellent introduction. I recently listened to Pat being interviewed on Questlove’s podcast and Pat mentioned that when people ask him a good entry point to early PMG he recommends Travels. If you are a fan and have not checked this out previously, this is a must have. If you have it in your collection, pull it off the shelf and give it a fresh listen.

From → Music Reviews

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