First Circle (album)

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For other uses, see First Circle (disambiguation).
First Circle
Studio album by Pat Metheny Group
Released 1984
Recorded February 15–19, 1984
Power Station, New York
Genre Jazz fusion
Length 49:54
Label ECM
Producer Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny Group chronology
First Circle
The Falcon and the Snowman
Pat Metheny chronology
First Circle
The Falcon and the Snowman
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]

First Circle is a Grammy Award winning album by Pat Metheny Group released in 1984. On the album Pat Metheny is joined by Lyle Mays on piano and keyboards, Steve Rodby on bass, drummer Paul Wertico and vocalist and percussionist Pedro Aznar. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance in 1985.

Pat Metheny has remarked that this is an important album in the Group's history for a number of reasons, among them being that the Group's core lineup on the album remained unchanged for over 15 years and it was the final Group album released on the ECM record label. While Metheny has expressed that he has no negativity toward ECM, he has stated that their recording policy was very stringent:

"You recorded for two days, you mixed for a day, that was your record. For better or for worse, whether you liked it or not, that was your record."

Nevertheless, Metheny has stated that "First Circle" vastly expanded the scope of the Group's music. In a podcast retrospective, he remarked that the album brought the Group to a creative high that he had been seeking since its foundation, and further stated that "First Circle", "Still Life (Talking)", and "Letter from Home", arguably the Group's most popular albums, were connected by their distinctive musical explorations and accessibly melodic personalities.

Of note on the album proper is the peculiar opener "Forward March". Sounding like a children's concert band's first practice together, the piece, which features keyboardist Lyle Mays on trumpet, uses many dissonant, out-of-tune chords and notes, along with shifting time signatures. On using it as the opener, Pat Metheny has since remarked that it "seemed like a good idea at the time." [2]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Forward March"   Pat Metheny 2:47
2. "Yolanda, You Learn"   Lyle Mays, Metheny 4:43
3. "The First Circle"   Metheny, Mays 9:10
4. "If I Could"   Metheny 6:54
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Tell It All"   Metheny, Mays 7:55
2. "End of the Game"   Metheny, Mays 7:57
3. "Mas Alla" (Beyond) Metheny, Pedro Aznar 5:37
4. "Praise"   Metheny, Mays 4:19


  • Pat Metheny - Guitar, Synclavier Guitar, Sitar, Slide Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic 12-String Guitar
  • Lyle Mays - Piano, Synthesizers, Oberheim, Agogo Bells, Organ, Trumpet
  • Steve Rodby - Bass Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Bass Drum
  • Pedro Aznar - Glockenspiel, Voice, Bells, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Whistle, Guitar Acoustic 12-String Guitar
  • Paul Wertico - Drums, Field Drum, Cymbal


Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
1984 The Billboard Top 100 102
1984 Top Jazz Albums 2


Grammy Awards

Year Winner Category
1985 Pat Metheny Group Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance


  1. ^ Ginell, Richard S. (2011). "First Circle - Pat Metheny | AllMusic". Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Pat Metheny Songbook (ISBN 0-634-00796-3) page 441