Pat Metheny: One Quiet Night (2003)
A rich legacy of artists have found it in themselves to trust their inner voice enough to record profoundly intimate music and share it with the world. Bill Evans' Conversations With Myself, Anthony Braxton's For Alto, John McLaughlin's My Goals Beyond, Bill Frisell's Ghost Town, and Keith Jarrett's Spirits all come to mind in this context.
One Quiet Night is Pat Metheny's third contribution to that legacy. His first foray into solo ground came with his 1979 album New Chautauqua, a project consisting of overdubbed guitars. In 1992 he came out with the wonderful (but often reviled) Zero Tolerance For Silence. It was a tour-de-force of unrelentingly distorted electric guitar---the amp on that session went up to eleven! It was an honest sonic document by an honest artist searching for the entire arc of his Muse. This recording furthers the radii of the same arc, but with a fundamentally different tone.
On this latest offering, Metheny gives us exactly what the title promisesone quiet night of Pat Metheny playing alone in his home studio on his unusually-tuned baritone acoustic guitar. The results are a shimmering delicate gem. One Quiet Night was recorded with no overdubs and produced without the usual fuss that the perfectionist normally brings to a recording session, andthis method is a wise choice on his part. His instrument imbues a rich, warm sound throughout, the baritone guitar and Nashville tuning enabling Metheny to cover a wide dynamic spectrum on the instrument, and his thoughtful selection of songs makes this a special recording to add to your collection. My one gripe is that he used too much reverb and that decision distances the music from this listener to some degree; but hey, he's the artist and that's the way he heard it!
One Quiet Night also reveals a different side of Metheny's approach to his chosen instrument; throughout this effort the unique tuning that the baritone guitar affords takes him into new harmonic and melodic landscapes. By utilizing such a tuning, he can retain the relative intervallic relationship of a conventionally- tuned instrument, but the overtones generated in this case are different than a conventionally- tuned one, thus opening up a world of unexplored sonic spaces. Metheny really comes alive in this context and has produced some beautifully heartfelt music.
The record includes Metheny originals, a cover of "Don't Know Why" (recently made immensely popular by Norah Jones), a deeply inspired rendition of Jarrett's "My Song," and a lush timeless version of Gerry and the Pacemakers' 1965 hit "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" which reveals just how beautiful that song can be when handled with finesse and respect.
In the liner notes Metheny says, "This record is about essentially one sound, basically one mood, and taking the time to go deep inside that single world." It is a vast inner world filled with many pleasures and surprises, a journey well worth taking.
Track Listing: One Quiet Night; Song For The Boys; Don't Know Why; Another Chance; And Time Goes On; My Song; Peace Memory; Ferry Cross The Mersey; Over On 4th Street; I Will Find The Way; North To South, East To West; Last Train Home
Personnel: Pat Metheny-solo baritone guitar