Pat Metheny Unity Group
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What is the difference between a band and a group? In guitarist Pat Metheny's case, his Unity Group, as well as adding multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi to the foursome that comprised the Unity Band that he formed in 2012, also takes on many of the widescreen, epic-themed properties of his hugely popular Pat Metheny Group, which toured the globe for some 30 years. As this album confirms, the distinction perhaps seems like semantics but musically it's a best-of-all-worlds deal, with dramatic compositions such as the Spanish accented Rise Up and the majestic Sign Of The Season showcasing sweeping, memorable melodies and improvisations from saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Ben Williams and Metheny himself. These take the music forward while also offering jazz thrills, such as Potter and Williams trading phrases on the title track. Most satisfying of all though, Metheny also continues to explore his Philly soul fascination, casting Potter as a kind of surrogate Teddy Pendergrass on a series of ultimately exultant ballads.