Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories)

Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories)

by Pat Metheny


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Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny have been good friends since the 1970s, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that Beyond the Missouri Sky should be their first duet album together. Both musicians are from small towns in Missouri, which leads Metheny to speculate in the liner notes if this similarity of childhood ambience might have something to do with the two players' obvious love and affinity for each other. Whatever the answer, the result of this logical pairing is a rather somber and moody one. Metheny has a dark tone on his electric guitar, and on Beyond the Missouri Sky, where he plays acoustic, his sound is similarly deep and rounded. Metheny has called Haden one of the greatest improvisers of all time, and although this may be hyperbolic exaggeration from a longtime friend, Haden has at least earned the right to defend the claim. On Beyond the Missouri Sky, his playing is as sensitive and beautiful as always. Although one can understand the vibe that Haden and Metheny were going for, the preponderance of slow and mid-tempo material can wear on the listener. When they eschew the dirge-like tempos, as on the fantastic "The Precious Jewel," the results are just as atmospheric and are, in fact, even more evocative of the Midwestern landscapes that are featured so prominently in the album art. With Metheny setting up a strummy rhythm, Haden plays the stately melody with impeccable tone. This track, one of many, also showcases Metheny overdubbing different guitars to thicken out the sound of the performance. The results are similar, at least in spirit, to Bill Frisell's recordings in the latter half of the 1990s. Although many Metheny and Haden compositions that are featured on this record, it is their readings of older material that are most effective. The Jimmy Webb classic "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is wonderfully nostalgic, as Metheny uses subtle guitar and synth washes to pad a beautiful duet performance, and the traditional "He's Gone Away" is the greatest lullaby that never was. Overall, Beyond the Missouri Sky is a fine record when the material is happening, but a bit of a chore when it is not. If Haden and Metheny had gone with the more Americana theme throughout, instead of interspersing that rootsy feel with post-bop, it would have been a much stronger record.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/25/1997
Label: Polygram Records
UPC: 0731453713024
catalogNumber: 537130

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Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Ouida_in_Mississippi More than 1 year ago
I have been a fan of Pat Metheny for years. Bought Missouri Sky years ago at Barnes and Noble and have loved it ever since. I've given it as a gift to rave reviews. It is absolutely essential for the cocktail hour with a glass of wine. Because of this CD I am now a big fan of Charlie Haden. FYI, his album with Keith Jarrett called Jasmine is phenomenal (nominated for a Grammy). I consider Missouri Sky one of the classic acoustic jazz CDs in my collection. Enjoy !! Ouida from Mississippi
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is perfect! There isn't a song on it that I haven't listened to countless times and still enjoy. I'm amazed that there is only one review (previous to mine) posted. I guess that buyers of this album are so busy listening to it that they aren't taking the time to tell others how absolutely outstanding it is! BUY IT and enjoy....
OuidafromMississippi More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed Pat Metheny's albums since the mid-1970's. His concept albums with pianist Lyle Mays and the rest of his jazz Group are amazing. Such musicianship! My favorite albums, other than this one, are Offramp, Still Life(Talking), Secret Story, and his live recording from Europe in the mid '90's, The Road From Here. The Missouri Sky collaboration with bassist Charlie Haden is acoustic magic - soulful, innovative, and from the heart. My favorite tracks on Missouri Sky both have "moon" in the title: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and The Moon Song. But there are no back tracks on the entire album. I play this CD on the weekends while pouring a glass of red wine and relaxing on the courtyard. Very soothing, mellow, and retrospective. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have these many years. It's a classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is easily the most-appreciated album (cd) that i have ever played for friends and family. To the person, every one that i've played this for has appreciated it, and wanted a copy of their own. While it strikes at first as background-like in tone, a closer listen reveals gorgeous warmths of peace and reflection. You can't help but feel appreciative and evocative as the beautiful melodies and colors cause your feelings to echo the sound. You'll feel peaceful, calm, and positive. What more could you ask for by two masters on one cd?
Guest More than 1 year ago
the album takes you through what are called short stories, an understandable concept as this quite intricately detailed (but all so simple) album sends you through an imaginative poetic story. By reading the poems in the leaf, you are sent through some enchanting and exciting masterpieces. My favourite, THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS is quite simply genius. I think this album is a celebration of an amazing career and I think the collaboration with Metheny was an idea waiting to happen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best CD I purchased in 1997. Only two instruments (for the most part), bass and guitar, create a SOUND. My wife calls it the Home on the Range CD, which is part of it, but there's a jazz element as well. For a mellow mood, definitely not for the manic or high-strung listener.