Bright Size Life by Pat Metheny



Today’s Essential Record is Pat Metheny’s debut album Bright Size Life.  It was recorded in Germany over 3 days in December of 1975 and released in 1976.  Pat Metheny is on guitar, Jaco Pastorius on bass, and Bob Moses on drums.

Pat Metheny has had a long and storied career since his debut in 1976. He has written and performed in many genres including jazz, fusion, world music, film soundtracks, the list goes on.  His discography is here.

Great records take you to a new world, one where the rules of science and nature seem slightly different.  Strange but familiar.   This is one of those records.  It’s impact continues to shape new generations of musicians.  (Here is an interview with Pat about the record).



Bright Size Life has a sparse and pastoral feel to it, earthy and otherworldly at the same time.  Between Pat’s fragile guitar, Jaco’s singing fretless and chiming harmonics, and Bob Moses’ swirling cymbal work, this record never fails to evoke new musical landscapes.

The legendary Jaco Pastorius is the bassist on this record.  If you haven’t heard of Jaco, or only know his solo album or work with Weather Report, this record will be a new discovery of his talent as a sideman.  Jaco is at his best here, playing elegant and graceful accompaniment and transitioning to thoughtful and melodic solos of his own.

I couldn’t find a video of the full album,  so below is a sampling of the record.  Check it out.

“Bright Size Life”


“Unity Village”

“Midwestern Nights Dream”