Some collaborations between jazz giants seem to have been disappointing for whatever reason. John Scofield and Pat Metheny have such distinct approaches to jazz guitar, who could have foreseen what such a project would end up like? They may well have staked out their own territory at left and right speakers and just dueled off one another, but this stuff works incredibly well as a *collaboration*, a perfectly enmeshed meeting of two great minds of music (how's that for alliteration?)
John and Pat take about an equal share of songwriting. Some of John's best tunes are here showcased, such as the knowing, easy swing of the title cut, the lovely ballad "No Matter What" (he can sure do those too!) and the catchy, accessible "Everybody's Party". The two of them play in unison so well, it sounds like a single guitar run through a chorus effect or something, but then one of them will snag some witty harmonic aside in there somewhere and remind you that in fact two different guitars are playing. Beautiful.
Pat's placid acoustic numbers like "Message to My Friend" and "Quiet Rising" blend in the mix pretty well, and it's nice to hear Sco fitting into that context too (in fact, Amazon.com says that this recording date made Scofield finally actually buy an acoustic guitar, and the acoustic album _Quiet_ resulted a couple years later). Which is not to say that's the only thing Pat brings to the table. He rips it up in the energetic "The Red One", wherein he takes a solo with his distinctive "synth-guitar".
The rhythm section of Stewart/Swallow is impeccable. I love those little Chinese cymbals Bill Stewart uses to punctuate certain songs. Bassist Steve Swallow (always choosing just the right note instead of walking his fingers off trying to find it) and Scofield have such a history, they play perfect together. Terrific album, sterling quality all around, highly recommended.