One of the joys of the internet is mining the geeky archival work of many people with many interests, including jazz. Recently, thanks to invisible friends around the world, I have been enjoying old interviews with Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. I started listening to their music when I was a teenager in the seventies. Their compositions always seem to be moving towards some sort of revelation with real emotional power – longing inside the middle of an epiphany. It’s open road romanticism, often writ in 4/4 time which is unusual for jazz.
Mays, as is his wont, offered a great insight about their signature piece, “Are You Going With Me?” from the Pat Metheny Group album Offramp. He called the structure Bolero-esque and I couldn’t agree more. But for me, the most interesting part of the song is the opening part which is all Mays. Once the song moves into Metheny’s guitar solo, my interest fades.
You can draw a straight line between Gram Parsons and Pat Metheny. Both these guys cared about finding an idiom for that particular sense of longing and restlessness combined with love lost. Metheny’s infatuation with Brazilian music took him deeper into the emotional terrain of desire and longing.
Yesterday, I challenged myself to do a remix of this song using Mays opening 48 bars. There are so many gorgeous colours in his chordal work, I want to cry. The organ is an imitation of the Eminent 310, the go-to keyboard of Jean Michel Jarre and Francis Rimbert. The lead is a trance patch run through a nasty guitar amp.
Check it out here.