This is a soul-stirring release performed by Pat Metheny and a plethora of friends, all great jazz musicians in their own right. Works II is a compilation of his finest work, spread out from the years 1976 to 1984. This guitarist/composer/bandleader became one of the leading names in the jazz genre during the '70s and '80s. This collection of beautifully written numbers reflects his character of good taste and the unique flavor of his graceful, even-flowing solos. Opening with "Unquity Road," Metheny is joined by the legendary Jaco Pastorius on bass and Bob Moses on drums. The soothing sweeping tones of his guitar blends in charmingly with Moses pulsating percussion and the rousing basslines of Pastorius. In "Unity Village," Metheny has arranged an eloquent melody line that keeps the piece together as one entity. It is understandable why the listener would feel the third track would be named as it is, "Open." This is free jazz in its highest degree of candid musicianship. Metheny charges in the foreground with mesmerizing scalework, with Charlie Haden playing crisp baselines, and Jack DeJohnette soaring all over his drum set like a runaway train during an enlightening solo. Then guest tenor sax specialists Dewey Redman and Mick Brecker take the lead with shimmering resonance. It is perhaps "Story From a Stranger" that provides the most emotionally alluring and dramatic effect among this collection of compositions. A shallow and subtle introduction soon falls by the wayside into a brilliant crescendo of haunting effect. Metheny brings Works II to a delightful and enriching closing with "Farmer's Trust," an eloquently spoken, sentimental, and quite restrained piece. Long time friend Lyle Mays, a student of Keith Jarrett, accompanies him on piano and organ. It is a tune, by the nature of its melody, intently foretelling a feeling of shadow-filled imagery. The record as a whole is filled with ingenious work and bits and pieces of crafty, witty playing, in spontaneous form. It is a sincere measure of Metheny's personality as a leading jazz fusion guitarist of the time.
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AllMusic Review by Shawn M. Haney
feat: Eberhard Weber