Pat Metheny
Offramp


4.5
superb

Review

by Jeremy Wolfers USER (66 Reviews)
March 3rd, 2013 | 13 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the greatest and most recognizable fusion albums of all time, and truly a unique listen.

Given that jazz fusion is a genre which all too often runs into the trap of effectively just becoming jam sessions with odd time signatures (which isn't a bad thing necessarily but has become increasingly grating), it's nice to hear something genuinely unique. Such is the case with many of the classics, from the strong but admittedly slightly overrated Heavy Weather, the experimental Metal Fatigue, and of course, Offramp.

This album pretty much epitomizes Pat Metheny's work. While following albums differ from this, this pretty much demonstrates the route of his approach as a musician; tasteful, atmospheric, and often quite clearly themed in a particular way. Naturally, this breaks the monotony of some musicians (yes, John Scofield that does include you), and it does set Offramp apart from a lot of other jazz fusion albums. The atmospheric tendencies are very much present on tracks like Baracole and The Bat Part II, which both have minimal use of guitar, only for simple leads, but successfully use synths to a great sense of size in the former track and a sense of wonder in the latter. when the more traditional jazz instrumentation is present, it isn't used unwisely, instead relying on fairly simple or crowded elements that help to distinguish all the tracks very easily. The instrumentation is definitely extremely skilled, with a series of excellent leads and bass lines present from various jazz staples, but with a great deal more competence and thought being used.

The album's variation can occasionally be a bit of a double edged sword, as if you like on track here you may get off put by others, particularly the more traditional James, but it makes up for it by having no real weak tracks. From the very first to very last track, there are only slight dips in quality. Undoubtedly the album highlights are the brilliant Are You Going With Me and Eighteen, the former comprising almost entirely of memorable leads, and the latter having a great sense of energy and pace. The title track may put off some due to its wild nature, but it still works excellently, and while some of the slightly more energetic tracks are found in the second half, it ends on a calm note, making the album as a whole very strong.

Realistically, this is a very hard album to fault. While some may prefer something a bit more traditional or some of Pat's other works like The Way Up, this is still a classic of the genre and easily worth your time.

Recommended Tracks:
Are You Going With Me
Eighteen
Au Lait
James



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Comments:Add a Comment 
HSThomas
March 3rd 2013


668 Comments


Lol the first paragraph's description of Jazz Fusion is so true. Great review and I will pick this up as soon as possible as I've heard the Methany Group's first album and that was really good. Also have you listened to Brett Garsed?

Madbutcher3
March 3rd 2013


1167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No, but I'll find some, thanks for the suggestion.

toxin.
March 3rd 2013


12768 Comments


I think my guitar teacher once showed me Pat Metheny. I can definitely see the appeal of his music, but it just never did much for me. Good review though, pos

Madbutcher3
March 4th 2013


1167 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fair enough. It's definitely not the typical fusion album and its pretty laid back so it might get boring or insipid for some

DrJohn
August 30th 2014


489 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY8z1w1JzMs&feature=related

jefflebowski
August 30th 2014


8257 Comments


this is pretty mid-tier metheny but it has its moments for sure, notably eighteen

DrJohn
August 30th 2014


489 Comments


Some of his 80s fusion efforts did age... as 80s ages. Nonetheless as you said; has its moments for sure.

jefflebowski
August 30th 2014


8257 Comments


honestly i think the way up is far the best thing he's done. not only does it have superb production and a minimum of cheesy synth work it's also hugely ambitious and complex with almost no guitar wank whatsoever

i'm also partial to imaginary day, the roots of coincidence is absolutely batshit crazy

DrJohn
August 30th 2014


489 Comments


I like his trio stuff more tbh, maybe because I'm more into trad jazz than fusion.

jefflebowski
August 30th 2014


8257 Comments


so am i actually, but that album just does it for me every time

bright size life is also great, lest it be forgotten

DrJohn
August 30th 2014


489 Comments


I actually enjoy all the albums you mentioned mate, yet Question and Answer with Holland and Haynes is my favorite... no mumbo jumbo on that one

jefflebowski
August 30th 2014


8257 Comments


haven't checked that yet actually, will give it a listen

DrJohn
August 30th 2014


489 Comments


You do so, or a marmot shall be let loose in your bathtub Lebowski. :P Cheers!



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