BRIGHT SIZE LIFE, his first solo album, is an anomaly in the Pat Metheny discography. Rather than inaugurating a new era in his music, it celebrates the end of another. Of the eight superb arrangements that make up BRIGHT SIZE LIFE, only the gentle ballad "Unity Village" (an overdubbed duet between electric 6- and 12-string guitars) made it to the Pat Metheny Group repetoire. And yet, some 20 years after documenting the music of his first working group, BRIGHT SIZE LIFE endures as among the finest, freshest trio recordings in the history of jazz.
Inspired by the image of a violin melody ‘flying off’, Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng’s virtuosic three-movement concerto Let Fly interweaves Chinese and Western classical elements. Vivid legends of astrological animals inform Zodiac Tales, a tour de force concerto for orchestra. Reflecting the city of Suzhou’s ancient, continuous cultural heritage, traditional nostalgia fuses with contemporary rhythms in the exciting Suzhou Overture. These works are featured here in their world premiere recordings.
Ned Rorem (b. 1923) is one of our most distinguished composers, perhaps best known for his songs; certainly he is one of the finest composers we have when it comes to word-setting. But this disc is given over to chamber works, and a fine disc it is; it features the British chamber group Fibonacci Series, which consists of seven instrumentalists (led by violinist Jonathan Carney, brother of the American String Quartet's second violinist, Laurie Carney).