222

Pat Metheny Group 2005

Nick Catalano By

Sign in to view read count
I was in south Florida last week and decided to catch the beginning of Pat Metheny's new tour, a multi-city affair in support of his new CD The Way Up. The CD, which is No. 2 on Billboard magazine's contemporary jazz chart, is a single 68-minute opus reprising Metheny's jazz-rock-pop-folk-fusion musical evolution. At the concert, held at the Count de Hoernle amphitheater in Boca Raton's Mizner Park, the Pat Metheny Group played the entire CD score and remained on stage for almost 3 hours working through an exhaustive sampling of the guitarist's genre-bending repertoire. The PMG arrives in New York for a 2-night stint on April 2nd.

A native of Lee's Summit, Mo. Metheny played around Kansas City and, while still a teen, was recruited to teach music at the University of Miami during a brief (3 week) time as a student there. Quickly, he transferred to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and soon joined the Gary Burton quintet in 1974 at age 19. A year later, he recorded his first solo album, Bright Size Life, featuring the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius, and in 1977 formed the PMG. In a long musically labyrinthine career, Metheny has constructed sounds accessing huge audiences both on CD and in large venue live concerts. His efforts have garnered 16 Grammies and sustained considerable popularity.

Even though Metheny has always advertised his music as strongly jazz-related, some caveats are necessary in order to analyze his contributions. That there are large portions of improvisation at a Metheny performance is incontrovertible. But his many formulas (i.e. guitar/ drum call and responses) always utilize highly amplified sounds too often designed to woo audiences that simplistically groove on volume and speed. These are the same patrons who applaud any drum solo no matter how amateurish it may be and who attend boorish concerts for purposes that are anything but musical. It must be remembered that there are huge numbers of these folks and capturing their attention can result in staggering financial remuneration from concert revenues and CD sales.

At the Florida concert the PMG spent hours improvising. But if you were searching for anything resembling jazz compositional development with ensuing themes and variations, you were destined to be disappointed. Instead the PMG wound through aimless improvisations that bore no relation to cultivated design except to quote musical styles (i.e. folk, rock, fusion etc.) and clichéd formulae that went nowhere. As for the improvisations themselves, whole-note sequences droning on and on were too often the bill of fare. Such whole-note indulgences may service the whims of sound mixers but are often a telltale sign employed by technical tyros. Some of the musicians, notably keyboardist Lyle Mays and drummer Antonio Sanchez revealed sparks of considerable technique and creativity but these expostulations merely served to relieve an ennui that had reached considerable proportions after almost 3 hours.


Shop

More Articles

Read John Pizzarelli Soars at Birdland New York Beat John Pizzarelli Soars at Birdland
by Nick Catalano
Published: September 16, 2016
Read Joey DeFrancesco at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola New York Beat Joey DeFrancesco at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
by Nick Catalano
Published: August 18, 2016
Read Clifford Brown and Max Roach in 1954: New Research New York Beat Clifford Brown and Max Roach in 1954: New Research
by Nick Catalano
Published: June 13, 2016
Read Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard New York Beat Pat Martino at The Jazz Standard
by Nick Catalano
Published: February 9, 2016
Read Carol Fredette at Jazz at Kitano New York Beat Carol Fredette at Jazz at Kitano
by Nick Catalano
Published: November 23, 2015
Read "John Pizzarelli Soars at Birdland" New York Beat John Pizzarelli Soars at Birdland
by Nick Catalano
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Clifford Brown and Max Roach in 1954: New Research" New York Beat Clifford Brown and Max Roach in 1954: New Research
by Nick Catalano
Published: June 13, 2016
Read "Joey DeFrancesco at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola" New York Beat Joey DeFrancesco at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
by Nick Catalano
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Quinsin Nachoff's Flux at Constellation" Live Reviews Quinsin Nachoff's Flux at Constellation
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers at City Winery" Live Reviews Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers at City Winery
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon" Multiple Reviews 2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Louis Armstrong: The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens" Getting Into Jazz Louis Armstrong: The Hot Fives and Hot Sevens
by Mark Barnett
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn" Multiple Reviews Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 4, 2016
Read "Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else – 1958" My Blue Note Obsession Cannonball Adderley: Somethin' Else – 1958
by Marc Davis
Published: May 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!