Pat Metheny / Pat Metheny Group

Offramp

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If 1980's As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls was defined by Pat Metheny's charisma, its less accessible but certainly rewarding successor, Offramp, finds him leaning more toward the abstract. But as cerebral as Metheny gets on such atmospheric pieces as "Are You Going with Me?" and "Au Lait," his playing remains decidedly lyrical and melodic. Clearly influenced by Jim Hall, the thoughtful Metheny makes excellent use of space, choosing his notes wisely and reminding listeners that, while he has heavy-duty chops, he's not one to beat everybody over the head with them. Even when he picks up the tempo for the difficult and angular title song, he shuns empty musical acrobatics. Throughout the CD, Metheny enjoys a powerful rapport with keyboardist Lyle Mays, who also avoids exploiting his technique and opts for meaningful storytelling.

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