Group [1966]

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Shirley Knight, Joanna Pettet
Genre: Drama
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 150 minutes

There's nary a flaw to be found in this lengthy (135 minutes) concert performance by guitarist Pat Metheny and his sextet, recorded in Tokyo in 2002. The musicianship is superb, the material (much of it drawn from the Metheny Group album of the same name) strong, the sound and visuals impeccable, the audience respectful... and therein lies the problem, such as it is. The whole effect is a bit sterile; there's little of the communication between listeners and players that can ignite jazz or rock shows in more intimate, less formal settings. Co-founders Metheny and keyboardist Lyle Mays, longtime bassist/co-producer Steve Rodby, and the three more recent members (multi-instrumentalists Richard Bona and Cuong Vu and drummer Antonio Sanchez) are all brilliant, versatile players. And it's nice to hear their interpretations of Jobim's "How Insensitive" and Metheny's lovely title tune from the film A Map of the World. But unless you get off on seeing a lot of close-ups of Metheny's facial contortions, listening to the PMG's recordings should suffice. --Sam Graham

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