Secret Story [Bonus Disc]

Secret Story [Bonus Disc]

by Pat Metheny


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Secret Story is among the more provocative recordings in Pat Metheny's oeuvre. Combining the relaxed groove of the early Pat Metheny Group recordings, it is full of odd sounds, exotic instrumentation, and the participation of members of the London Orchestra conducted by Jeremy Lubbock. Along with regular group members -- bassist Steve Rodby, drummer Paul Wertico, percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, pianist-keyboardist Lyle Mays -- numerous guests adorn these tracks as well: bassists Charlie Haden and Will Lee, percussionist Armando Marcal, vocalist Mark Ledford, jazz harmonica legend Toots Thielmans, Gil Goldstein, and Pat's brother Mike Metheny. But what's most notable is that none of these players are constants, as this is most certainly a Metheny solo effort: Secret Story is his own song, so to speak. His acoustic and electric guitars are augmented by synthesizers and samplers, and no matter how lush these proceedings get, they are never overwhelmed by production. Metheny is one of the few jazz musicians working today who completely understands what technology is used for, and his production never overwhelms his compositions. The entire disc comes off as a sort of interior travelogue, a heart's remembrance; a memento mori; it is one of the most emotionally expressive recordings in his career. "Above the Treetops," the album's opener, which features Haden and the two percussionists, is so utterly exotic and poetic it feels like the opening number in a soundtrack (and perhaps that's what it is); it's based on a Cambodian hymn titled "Buong Buong." The sound of a children's choir singing the hymn is sampled into the synth lines that delicately open the track. Percussion slips in and out sparingly, Haden's bass offers a heavily reverbed backbone for the structure of the tune, and Metheny's acoustic guitar and synthesizers cover the rest. It is a reflective and meditative moment that contains a kind of dignified majesty that builds up to his beautiful nylon string solo, the bluesy and grooving "Cathedral in a Suitcase." "Cathedral in a Suitcase" showcases a slight return to Metheny's employ by Danny Gottlieb with a series of beautiful cymbal rolls, and drummer Steve Ferone and Marcal on percussion. But it's Metheny with all of his keyboards and the orchestra that truly hold the day, providing a lush, cascading sequence of changes that offer the entire notion of majesty and travel. There is a sense of wonder and awe with all the euphoric drama that is so inherent in his compositions. One is taken from reflection to moving through a doorway and out into the world, watching it as it passes by through a windshield before the individual dissolves into its identity, only to emerge once more to be transformed. The pulse of the keyboards is enhanced by the utter grandeur of the strings. The ten-minute "Finding and Believing" is almost a tone poem that begins with a funky Latin rhythm. The funky sound of synths, electric sitar, and other strings is balanced by that popping bassline played by Lee. This is a suite, full of texture, dimension, and drama that becomes something wholly other from beginning to end as the orchestra adds expressionistic and elegant dissonance to the rhythm driven proceeding. There are simpler moments, too, however, such as the guitar piece "Sunlight," with Mays on piano, and Lee and Rodby on electric and acoustic basses. Its easy groove is a resting place in this ambitious work but is so melodically sophisticated, it is another adventure, albeit a simpler one. Gil Evans could have scored the meld of strings and nylon string guitar on "Always and Forever." "See the World" is a more "traditional" Metheny guitar jazz number, full of lithe syncopation, textural and rhythmic changes, and that striated sense of melody of his that is complex but hummable. The horns and strings add to its sense of grandeur and grace, but it continues to reach ever higher for something seemingly unattainable. Ryan Kisor's trumpet and John Clark's French Horn are also in attendance with Mike Metheny. "Antonia" is so lovely and heart-rending as to be nearly unbearable in its beauty, and Metheny's electric guitar solo is among the most expressive in his recorded career. The groove goes deep and wide, yet it hovers and floats. The strings pulse around it, percussion underscores it, and the melodic frame of the track is open and amazingly delicate. "The Truth Will Always Be" is another suite, a reflective one that goes to the core of what this record is about: it is about love discovered, grasped onto, and lost. It is every bit as regal and poetic as Debussy without the notion of classicism. Despite the lush production in these tunes, on this one it is revealed that these elements are here simply to protect the protagonist from emotions that are so profound and unsettling and tender as to be nearly unbearable. Strings slip in and around Metheny's guitar. He lets it bite in just the right places, and more than this, he lets his single lines sing. The strings enter forebodingly into the last cut, "Not to Be Forgotten (Our Final Hour)," but they give way to something simply melancholy that contains all the beauty and heartbreak of the world, the entire recording of a relationship in just over two minutes. The silence at the end of Secret Story is pregnant, almost breathtaking. At the end of 76 minutes the listener cannot help but be absorbed in reminiscences both pleasant and painful, and becomes an empathetic, and perhaps even a sympathetic witness to and participant in Metheny's magical sound world. [Nonesuch Records reissued Secret Story in 2007; as part of the deal with signing Metheny, Nonesuch is re-releasing his catalog in deluxe editions. This new version contains a gorgeously remastered disc of the original album, and a bonus disc containing five additional cuts from the original recording sessions that didn't make the final cut. Issued here for the first time, these cuts add an additional 16 minutes to the disc, which now makes this a whopping 92 minutes of music.]

Product Details

Release Date: 09/25/2007
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597998108
catalogNumber: 192572

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pat Metheny   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Synthesizer Guitar,Electric Sitar,electronic percussion,keyboard bass
Naná Vasconcelos   Percussion,Vocals
Gil Goldstein   Piano,Accordion,Conductor,Leader
Jeremy Lubbock   Conductor
Tom "Bones" Malone   Trombone
David Blamires   Vocals
Ryan Kisor   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Mike Metheny   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Michael Philip Mossman   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Akiko Yano   Vocals
John Clark   French Horn
Dave Bargeron   Trombone,Tuba
Danny Gottlieb   Cymbals
Steve Ferrone   Drums
Andy Findon   Flute
Charlie Haden   Bass,Acoustic Bass
Anthony Jackson   Contrabass Guitar
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Mark Ledford   Vocals
Armando Marçal   Percussion
Lyle Mays   Piano,Keyboards
Sammy Merendino   Drums
Toots Thielemans   Harmonica
Paul Wertico   Drums
Gavyn Wright   Concert Master
Paulo Braga   Drums

Technical Credits

Jeremy Lubbock   Orchestral Arrangements
Pat Metheny   Arranger,Producer,Orchestration,Horn Arrangements
Akiko Yano   Composer
Haydn Bendall   Engineer
Rob Eaton   Engineer
Anthony Jackson   Interlude
Gavyn Wright   Orchestra Leader
David Oakes   Producer
Kevin Reagan   Art Direction
Dan Gellert   Engineer
Jacques Brunet   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Secret Story 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great song! Westerville South did a great job of portraying it in this year's WGI competition!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all the Pat Metheny recordings I own, Still Life Talking is the most musically cohesive, carrying the listener through a series of well-crafted melodies and hooks. But Secret Story is the most personal. Pat puts so much raw, intense emotion into this recording, and it shows (Always and Forever is dedicated to his parents, for example). He melds together widely disparate styles of musical expression and is yet able to make a unifying whole out of the parts. The integration of guitar and keyboard sounds with a first-rate chamber orchestra works very well -- it's actually a great vehicle for a classical music buff to understand Metheny's remarkable musical mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply an amazing cd full of rich textures and melodies. I loved "Sunlight", simple yet absolutely beautiful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
His absolute masterpiece. This is where he synthesizes all his other styles and incorporates them somewhere on this album. From Mays'cresendo piano bursts to the melancholy accordion sound on Antonia. I literally wore out my original cd (it cracked!) and a year later when I bought another, still timeless. Listen sometime with headphones.