Pat Metheny Unity Group - Kin

Five fall into adventure

“Kin is really the 3D, IMAX, Technicolor
version of the Unity Band record,” says Pat
Metheny, describing how his latest album
compares to the Grammy-winning first
recording (made in 2012) by his quartet
comprising saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist
Ben Williams and drummer Antonio Sanchez.
The foursome notched up over 100 gigs
around the globe supporting their debut – and
discovered that they didn’t want the tour to
end. “Everybody got along really well and we
just had a lot of fun together,” reveals
Metheny. “We all had this feeling to keep
going, so I started thinking: if we’re going to
do this again, maybe there would be a way to
really broaden it out further and incorporate
electronic elements that have always been
a big part of my music for the last 30 years.”

To do this, Metheny added another
recruit to the ranks – pianist-cum-multi-instrumentalist,
Giulio Carmassi – and
renamed his outfit Unity Group. Carmassi’s
contribution is an important one: though not
a soloist, his presence allows for greater
textural richness and depth. In fact, unlike
Unity Band, Kin is a musical hybrid that
combines through-composed passages
(similar to the dense, multi-timbre polyphony
that characterised 2010’s Orchestrion) with
traditional jazz improv. The end result is
something quite astonishing. The title cut
demonstrates Metheny’s ability to compose
big tunes with hummable melodies, while
the pellucid ballads Sign Of The Season and
Born show that the guitarist can play with
a simplicity that conveys more emotional
depth than some of his more intricate, fleet-of-
finger pieces. All in all, another envelope-pushing
opus from a pathfinding musician
whose talent doesn’t recognise boundaries.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Nonesuch | cat no tbc

Reviewed by Charles Waring
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