Pat Metheny – Secret Story

One of Metheny’s highest and most interesting points of his career, “Secret Story” is not your usual guitar oriented jazz album. There’s as a matter of fact something to it that makes it one of this guitarist’s most ambitious, unique, and frankly progressive works.

This kind of jazz is labeled by some smooth jazz, but it’s actually much more than that: there are tons of synthesizer sounds (played by Pat himself, with nothing but his guitar, and of course MIDI cords), tons of world music influences, especially African and European, the latter one by chance being part of the most melancholic side of the LP. This is Metheny exploring and experimenting, and he does it so well that it is always enjoyable to hear him do so. The musicianship surrounding him is decent, but not memorable, as obviously Pat is the center of the album, and all the noticeable sounds (except for drums) are created by him.

“Secret Story” is one of Pat Metheny’s most ambitious, unique, and progressive works.

“Secret Story” to me is one of the perfect examples of Metheny’s favorite themes, such as travel and being on the road: the world music influence is the exquisite proof. But we also find this theme in moods themselves, cheerful, full of hope and excitement, but at times also full of melancholy and even sadness. It literally is an adventurous albums that visits different sounds textures and new horizons. My only complaint is that it is way too long, clocking in almost 80 minutes in length, and I strongly feel that the results would have been the same if it was a half an hour shorter. However, the longer episodes seem to be more appealing than others: “Finding And Believing”‘s ten minutes are pretty epic, thanks to the outstanding African-esque vocals that create a wonderful atmosphere, “The Truth Will Always Be” a greatly structured song, with a nice, calm hook that echoes along the nine minutes of the entire track. “Antonia” is a shorter, but extremely nostalgic piece, of soothing beauty, “Cathedral In a Suitcase” a brilliant evocation and summary of the general moods that the album as a whole creates.

“Secret Story”, despite it’s excessiveness, is a great treat, an album that a Pat Metheny fan will love dearly, for sure. I never had so much emotions brought up by listening to one of his albums.


1. Above the Treetops (2:43)
2. Facing West (6:05)
3. Cathedral in a Suitcase (4:52)
4. Finding and Believing (10:00)
5. Longest Summer (6:34)
6. Sunlight (3:53)
7. Rain River (7:09)
8. Always and Forever (5:26)
9. See the World (4:48)
10. As a Flower Blossoms (I Am Running to You) (1:53)
11. Antonia (6:11)
12. Truth Will Always Be (9:15)
13. Tell Her You Saw Me (5:11)
14. Not to Be Forgotten (Our Final Hour) (2:22)


* Armando Marcal – percussion
* Lyle Mays – piano
* Sammy Merendino – drums
* Pinpeat Orchestra – vocals
* Steve Rodby – electric and Acoustic Bass
* Toots Thielemans – harmonica
* Paul Wertico – drums
* Ryan Kisor – trumpet, flugelhorn
* Mike Metheny – trumpet, flugelhorn
* Michael Mossman – trumpet, flugelhorn
* Akiko Yano – vocals
* David Taylor – trombone (bass)
* John Clark – French horn
* Dave Bargeron – trombone, tuba
* Danny Gottlieb – cymbals
* Steve Ferrone – drums
* Andrew Findon – flute
* Charlie Haden – acoustic bass
* Anthony Jackson – guitar
* Skaila Kanga – harp
* Mark Ledford – vocals
* Will Lee – electric bass
* Naná Vasconcelos – percussion, vocals
* Gil Goldstein – piano, accordion,
* Tom “Bones” Malone – trombone
* Pat Metheny – synthesizer, piano (electric), pika, electric percussion, electric sitar, keyboard bass, sitar (electric), guitar (synthesizer), keyboards, bass (electric), guitar (acoustic), piano, guitar (electric), percussion, guitar

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