Pat Metheny: One Quiet Night (2003)
Are you seated? For the first time in recent memory, Pat Metheny's new album is not an epic journey through musical style. One Quiet Night gives us a rare insight into the simple explorations of the baritone guitar by one of jazz music's masters. Metheny may not do something this emotionally simplistic again for some time.
Pat Metheny characteristically wanted another change. After the debut of his new group line up for last year's Speaking of Now, Metheny opted to release the results of a one night recording session that took place on November 24, 2001. The difference is the conspicuous absence of stylistic change within the totality of One Quiet Night, and that is a departure for the native of Lee's Summit, Missouri.
Picture a studio room, Metheny bent over a baritone guitar, one microphone nearby and a rack of sound gear on 'record.'
Pat Metheny's character as a player is constantly morphing, but certain universal qualities remain. His ability to play for emotional effect is specially resilient on One Quiet Night, beginning with the album's title track. Metheny has recently intensified his wish to make notes resonate and stir in our consciousness in anticipation of the next, more penetrating, sound.
Metheny proves the textured richness and moody character of the baritone guitar. Is it just the lower tuning on the guitar? Or is the song a lower tune because of the guitar? Regardless, Pat Metheny musically reveals mood by the note ' the mandate of any successful musician.
One Quiet Night is a blend of cover songs, improvisations and new compositions. These 65 minutes contain music originally written by Keith Jarrett ('My Song'), Norah Jones ('Don't Know Why'), and Gerry and the Pacemakers' 'Ferry Cross the Mersey.' In addition to new material, Metheny concludes the record with an acoustic version of the Pat Metheny Group's (PMG) 1987 standard 'Last Train Home.' Despite the varying origins, this music (as with almost everything he does) has the Pat Metheny sound. This record, however, is the simplest statement of Metheny's machinations since his collaboration with Charlie Haden on 1997's Beyond the Missouri Sky.
The sounds interweave on this album so that each tune contributes to Metheny's overall character sketch. The whole record is the kind of tapestry that Metheny has always tried to achieve with his live sets, albums and songs. The whole is, in this case, much greater than the sum of its parts. Music with this much mood often falls into the abyss of 'easy listening.' The harmonic and melodic journey of this album deserves a more astute listen than that. Should you want a nice aural backdrop to your rainy Sunday afternoon, however, One Quiet Night will turn that mood into an emotive sojourn.
If Pat Metheny's music is an American postcard, this one vividly pictures a mood in which we should reside more often.
Track Listing: One Quiet Night; Song for the Boys; Don?t Know Why; Another Chance; Time Goes On; My Song; Peace Memory; Ferry Cross the Mersey; Over on 4th Street; I Will Find the Way; North the South, East to West; Last Train Home.
Personnel: Pat Metheny: baritone guitar.