4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Last Train Home from Tango Del Rey

The Peter Sprague Group Plays Pat Metheny scored a direct hit last night at Tango Del Rey in Pacific Beach, reinforcing many of the very ideas that have made Metheny's output such a vital force in modern music over the last 30 years.

The band Sprague assembled to interpret this music could hardly be improved upon, including long-time associates Duncan Moore on drums, Gunnar Biggs on bass and Leonard Patton on vocals--and especially Barnaby Finch on keyboards--who provided a superb harmonic/melodic foil to the guitarist's expressions.

Opening with a medley of "Minuano/ Bright Size Life," the band hit the Metheny book with just the right amount of reproduction versus interpretation. Sprague is a more staccato/ bebop centered guitarist than Metheny, but he nonetheless crafted beautiful personal statements around the themes. Finch responded with a super melodic flurry that channeled the spirit of long-time Metheny collaborator Lyle Mays with spooky effectiveness--providing a keyboard partner that Sprague has never really enjoyed before. Finch was the lynchpin for the success of the entire evening.

Patton joined the group for an ecstatic version of "Have You Heard," his wordless vocals sailing through the complex contours and difficult intervals inherent in the piece. Patton is a force of nature--it's like listening to Ray Charles morphing into Bobby McFerrin--all the soulful guts of the former combined with the athletic acuity and startling range of the latter. It's always a joy to see Sprague's nimble fingers dancing along the fingerboard and Finch ratcheted up the excitement quotient with lightning strike runs and churchy repetitions.

Sprague's songwriting partner, lyricist Randy Phillips created words for many Metheny tunes that didn't have them before--with varying results. Some of the guitarist's melodies are just too strong on their own--adding words or syllables to every note seemed like overkill on "Travels," for instance.

On the other hand, the lyrics enhanced "Better Days Ahead," "Song For Bilbao," and, especially "Are You Going With Me," which was perhaps, the highest point in a night filled with them. Gunnar Biggs was rock-solid, if under-mixed, throughout, and Duncan Moore had several opportunities to demonstrate why he is the most-in-demand drummer in San Diego.

On the excellent, "Americana," inspired romp through "The Fields, The Sky," Sprague's group "went off the chart" of the 4 page arrangement--leaving things wide open for Finch, who eventually pulled a long quote from the Bruce Hornsby pop-hit "That's Just The Way It Is," to inspire waves of laughter and recognition.

There was even an encore-- a beautiful, heart-wrenching reading of "Last Train Home," where everything worked at the highest level, including Patton's angelic wordless vocals, Sprague's off-the-hook guitar synthesis, Moore's uncanny train-track imitation and Finch's joyous keyboard exposition.

Doesn't get much better than this.

Photo by Bonnie Wright

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Chef Budda Blasian Soul Food is getting a food truck

The family-operated pop-up has thrived on word of mouth, and sumptuous fried chicken
Next Article

Mira Mesa First Assembly of God Church: a life transformed

Keeping the world out of the church and getting the church into the world

The Peter Sprague Group Plays Pat Metheny scored a direct hit last night at Tango Del Rey in Pacific Beach, reinforcing many of the very ideas that have made Metheny's output such a vital force in modern music over the last 30 years.

The band Sprague assembled to interpret this music could hardly be improved upon, including long-time associates Duncan Moore on drums, Gunnar Biggs on bass and Leonard Patton on vocals--and especially Barnaby Finch on keyboards--who provided a superb harmonic/melodic foil to the guitarist's expressions.

Opening with a medley of "Minuano/ Bright Size Life," the band hit the Metheny book with just the right amount of reproduction versus interpretation. Sprague is a more staccato/ bebop centered guitarist than Metheny, but he nonetheless crafted beautiful personal statements around the themes. Finch responded with a super melodic flurry that channeled the spirit of long-time Metheny collaborator Lyle Mays with spooky effectiveness--providing a keyboard partner that Sprague has never really enjoyed before. Finch was the lynchpin for the success of the entire evening.

Patton joined the group for an ecstatic version of "Have You Heard," his wordless vocals sailing through the complex contours and difficult intervals inherent in the piece. Patton is a force of nature--it's like listening to Ray Charles morphing into Bobby McFerrin--all the soulful guts of the former combined with the athletic acuity and startling range of the latter. It's always a joy to see Sprague's nimble fingers dancing along the fingerboard and Finch ratcheted up the excitement quotient with lightning strike runs and churchy repetitions.

Sprague's songwriting partner, lyricist Randy Phillips created words for many Metheny tunes that didn't have them before--with varying results. Some of the guitarist's melodies are just too strong on their own--adding words or syllables to every note seemed like overkill on "Travels," for instance.

On the other hand, the lyrics enhanced "Better Days Ahead," "Song For Bilbao," and, especially "Are You Going With Me," which was perhaps, the highest point in a night filled with them. Gunnar Biggs was rock-solid, if under-mixed, throughout, and Duncan Moore had several opportunities to demonstrate why he is the most-in-demand drummer in San Diego.

On the excellent, "Americana," inspired romp through "The Fields, The Sky," Sprague's group "went off the chart" of the 4 page arrangement--leaving things wide open for Finch, who eventually pulled a long quote from the Bruce Hornsby pop-hit "That's Just The Way It Is," to inspire waves of laughter and recognition.

There was even an encore-- a beautiful, heart-wrenching reading of "Last Train Home," where everything worked at the highest level, including Patton's angelic wordless vocals, Sprague's off-the-hook guitar synthesis, Moore's uncanny train-track imitation and Finch's joyous keyboard exposition.

Doesn't get much better than this.

Photo by Bonnie Wright

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close