472

Pat Metheny / Kenny G: The Jazz Soul of P.D.Q. Bach

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Pat Metheny / Kenny G: The Jazz Soul of P.D.Q. Bach In a move that has left the jazz world buzzing and their legions of fans traumatized in shock and disbelief, erstwhile polar opposites and outspoken adversaries Pat Metheny and Kenny G have recorded together for the first time, choosing as their common ground the singularly uncommon music of the opprobrious nineteenth/eighteenth century composer P.D.Q. Bach.

At a media event held to trumpet the partnership (Pat’s brother, Mike, played lead trumpet) the former combatants were in a conciliatory mood. “It’s time we buried the hatchet,” guitarist Metheny said of the alliance with Kenny G, his hands trembling and nostrils flaring at the thought of such an eventuality. “Yes, I’ve made a few nasty remarks about G — okay, a lot of nasty remarks — but deep down I’ve always admired his... his... give me a moment here... Well, anyway, the label thought our getting together would be a great idea, they came up with some killer bread, and frankly, I’m quite...,” he cleared his throat, paused, took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m quite... rather... somewhat pleased with the results.” Metheny then excused himself, hastened to the nearest men’s room and upchucked his lunch.

G, who speaks as he plays, using simple monosyllabic words, stretching them to their utmost limit, then clinging to them for dear life, said, “It was swell to play with Pat. He is good. We had fun, no fuss. Now we friends. He Pat, me G.” And with that, he grabbed a nearby vine and swung through the trees in Central Park to an escarpment where he was reunited with Jane and Cheetah. Onlookers were understandably flabbergasted to observe Kenny G actually swinging.

But what of the music, you may be wondering. Ah yes, the music. It’s hard to meander far from mediocrity when deciphering P.D.Q. Bach (1807–1742?), one of the more visionary charlatans of his time (whenever that was), a man whose genius for recycling detritus discarded by others has never been equaled and whose inscrutable leitmotifs have been lovingly preserved and annotated by his stalwart champion, Prof. Peter Schickele. Metheny and G are surprisingly compatible on such bite-size bon bons as “Concerto for Horn and Hardart,” “Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Groups,” “Lip My Reeds” and “Oedipus Tex,” but rather less successful on those pieces misappropriated for larger ensembles including “Prelude to Einstein on the Fritz,” “Last Tango in Bayreuth” and the anaphrodisic “Erotica Variations.”

A special problem arises on “What’s My Melodic Line?,” as Kenny G seems unable to answer the question (or even to comprehend it). Metheny does his best to compensate, often strumming the backbeat in the style of Freddie Green, but to no avail, as G appears determined to rehash riffs from his latest double-platinum album “Sleek and Sexy Sax Clichés for Sweethearts.” And on “Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice,” the duo’s minimalist style seems somewhat at odds with P.D.Q.’s habitually bombastic modus operandi.

In spite of its conspicuous flaws, the album is certain to generate a warm response and record-breaking sales from jazz aficionados, the idly curious and those who take pleasure in watching train wrecks. An even more ambitious sequel is planned, tentatively titled “P&G in the Key of C.”

Visit PDQ Bach on the web.


Track Listing: What

Personnel: Pat Metheny, guitar; Kenny G, alto, soprano saxophone.

Year Released: 2004 | Style: Fringes of Jazz

April fools!


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Arctic" CD/LP/Track Review Arctic
by James Nadal
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "Impermanence" CD/LP/Track Review Impermanence
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Atmosphères" CD/LP/Track Review Atmosphères
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Old Door Phantoms" CD/LP/Track Review Old Door Phantoms
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 5, 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!