|Larry Grenadier first came on the national scene as a touring member of Joe Henderson's working bands and went on to play and record with Gary Burton and many others. Larry has been an active member of a loose community of like-minded players that includes some of the most important musicians to appear in this period, like Chris Potter, Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau. He is a perfect bassist for Metheny; his huge sound, impressive rhythmic heft and especially his ability to listen to, absorb and respond instantly to the melodic/harmonic suggestions of Metheny's liquid thinking put him in the rare company of great bassists who have helped make Metheny's earlier trio records so successful.
Metheny and drummer Bill Stewart have a rapport that is simply magnificent on this recording. Stewart is regarded by nearly everyone as the most impressive new jazz drummer of the past 15 years. His many "Best Jazz Drummer" awards in drum magazine polls are as impressive as the high regard in which he is held by musicians such as Metheny, John Scofield, Joe Lovano and many others. The major impact that his playing has had on scores of young drummers as evidenced by the legions of student musicians around the world working to emulate his distinctive style. Metheny says, "His rhythmic precision and musical common sense is balanced by a zany streak that keeps his playing in a state of permanent red-alert. He is always aware of the music as a whole and is always making decisions, great decisions about all the different ways he can keep the music moving forward. His minute by minute listening skills, his incredibly evolved sense of form and tension/release make him one of the most impressive musicians, not just drummers, I have ever played with."
Like a previous Metheny trio recording, Question And Answer, this trio came together as Metheny finished a two-year stretch of recording and touring around the world with his regular Group. For his "vacation" period, Metheny decided to find a few like-minded younger players and continue once again to expand on his unique vision of what a guitar-led, improvisationally-driven three-piece ensemble could suggest within this modern culture of music.
"It's true that as much as I enjoy the open-endedness of the Group and the incredible freedom that exists in that world , I also love the sort of mobility and day to day flexibility that playing in a trio affords me. With the Group, each piece is more than just a tune, it's a whole musical environment that is set up to focus on or highlight a very particular kind of improvising, specific to that piece's place in a larger vocabulary of sound. In a trio situation, the focus is different, even the specific role of the guitar is changed. In the Group, I am kind of like the singer, the lead voice. In a trio situation, I am that too, but I can also morph into being the accompanist, or an additional rhythm section member or a colorist or shift between all those roles on a moments notice. Actually, playing in a trio, in many ways is the easiest thing for me because it is actually the situation that I have played in the longest. Even when I was really young, growing up and working in groups around Kansas City, I always had some kind of guitar, bass and drums trio thing going on. It's the core of my thing in a lot of ways. When I first started the PMG, it was more about adding Lyle Mays to that trio conception and then working out from there than starting something from scratch."