Beyond the Missouri Sky
This much-awaited album of duets features two accomplished jazz veterans in bassist Charlie Haden and guitarist Pat Metheny. Not surprisingly, they don't disappoint. In spite of the sparse instrumentation, the music has a rich timbre that reaches the listener viscerally. Whether soloing or backing up Metheny's guitar, Haden remains virtuosic and central to the overall sound; his penetrating bass lines provide both rhythm and leadership. Likewise, Metheny, known more recently for his descent into pop jazz guitar, rises to the occasion. His eloquent, delicate phrasings on “First Song,” “The Moon Son” and “Two for the Road” reveal the guitarist's remarkable touch and ability to interpret. Furthermore, he plays with command in a variety of musical styles, including Spanish, classical and straight-ahead jazz. Though it misfires on a few tracks (“The Precious Jewel”), Beyond the Missouri Sky should delight many jazz fans.
— J. Drew Todd