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SoundGround >> Pat Metheny Orchestrion - Astonishing

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3/3/13 1:27 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 03/06/13 2:53 AM
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I have mixed feelings about Metheny, really dislike much of his output (while I know how great he is, and I do like a certain subset of his records).

I'm not altogether convinced by the Orchestrion record, either, but the impetus and then the implementation of having a guitar midi-controlled orchestrion... blows me away to see on this clip from CBS News, which only scratches the surface of the artisans and artists who contributed pieces of this "toy" orchestra. Amazon explains this:

The Orchestrion itself is an assemblage of computer-operated acoustic instruments, all controlled by Metheny's guitar. The full instrumental array includes several pianos, drum kits, marimbas, "guitar-bots, " dozens of percussion instruments and even cabinets of carefully tuned bottles. Through Metheny's guitar, the instruments are struck, plucked, and otherwise played via the technology of solenoid switches and pneumatics. Metheny worked for months with a brilliant team of scientists and engineers to develop and assemble the Orchestrion.



3/3/13 1:31 PM
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Ali
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And then there's this Pikasso Guitar performance... Metheny in charge of all 42 strings on this thing:

3/16/13 2:24 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 03/17/13 11:16 AM
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I know only the first post is about the Orchestrion project. The rest about things that are sort of off-center for PM. Which are across the board the things I am interested in from him.

In 1994... for those who don't know... and whether specifically in order to shatter preconceptions, or as an extended middle finger to his record company, or whether really for the love of noise, none of us know... This is noisy. Or noise. So I don't necessarily recommend the record. (Taking back what I just said about liking the off-center stuff, at least as a universal statement). I just think it's one boundary marker to be aware of. And if you like, say, Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music", then.... I recommend it for you.
Pat Metheny did a record called 'Zero Tolerance For Silence'. Here's the whole 40ish minutes of it:

3/22/13 6:46 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 03/22/13 6:47 PM
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By the way.... on the "noise" front for Zero Tolerance for Silence. I just said things that might have been dismissive.

I MUCH prefer him just making a 40-minute metallic YAWP to most of what he did with "The Pat Metheny Group" -- all that lite-samba stuff, pretty much anything he did with Lyle Mays.

I have to say the same sorts of things about Mays, because of course I recognize he's a world-class musician, trying to update a Bill Evans thing, whatever other kudos anyone wants to give him... I just can't stand listening to what he did with Metheny.

So "ttt" yes. And a vote for the avant-garde noise, too. Especially from PM. Zero Tolerance is pretty high up on the list of his better records, to my ear. It's just noisy, too.
5/25/13 6:08 PM
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Ali
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Edited: 05/25/13 6:11 PM
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and another surprise, at least to me... Metheny's most recent is him (with his drummer, Antonio Sanchez), doing John Zorn tunes. From what I've heard, it's hard to believe (again) this is the same guy that did, say, "The Road to You" or "Offramp" or .... you get the idea. THIS guy has a lot of grit.

Here's the first tune on the record, and the one I like best so far, Mastema:

5/28/13 1:24 PM
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soundoff71
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Edited: 05/28/13 1:24 PM
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I only got to hear the Ornette/Metheny stuff here while driving, but it was excellent.  You have to go to this link for the sound clips: 
 
 
On this Piano Jazz session, the Pat Metheny Trio, which includes star bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez, drops by for a set of Metheny originals and a few Ornette Coleman tunes.
 
Metheny is one of the most critically acclaimed jazz musicians of the past 35 years. A tireless sonic explorer whose style incorporates elements of progressive jazz, fusion, Latin, post-bop and New Age music. Metheny has a roomful of Grammy awards and three gold albums. Metheny has a roomful of Grammy Awards to his credit including a 2013 win for Best Jazz Instrumental Album with his Unity Band. Metheny has worked along side jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Charlie Haden, Ornette Coleman, Roy Haynes andJoshua Redman.
 
Pat Meets Marian (By Copping Wes)
 
Metheny and company kick off the session with "Bright Size Life," a tune from his very first album. Metheny's electric guitar tone is instantly recognizable: full and round yet piercing through the mix, and his solo lines soar above the complex rhythm laid down by McBride and Sanchez.
 
"Boy, that kills me that's the first tune you ever wrote," host Marian McPartland says. "It sounds as if you wrote it today or yesterday."
 
"The whole thing of writing music evolved out of necessity," Metheny replies. "I wanted to improvise in a way that I was having a hard time reconciling with standards and blues forms. I felt like I needed to come up with an environment to support my way of improvising."
 
At 14, Metheny won a guitar contest sponsored by Downbeat magazine that brought him to a jazz camp in Decatur, Ill., where the guest faculty included McPartland.
 
"I entered it by basically copying a Wes Montgomery solo," Metheny says. "Later, I learned that whipping out my Wes thing wasn't the best way to go. It would please the crowd, but the other musicians would be looking at me funny."
 
Guitar Orchestration And Atmosphere
 
Metheny's trio follows with another original, "So It May Secretly." The tune opens with the shimmering, harp-like sound of one of Metheny's modified guitars. He has been a pioneer in the use of guitar effects, new musical technology and unconventional instruments, and continues to explore new sounds.
 
"That particular guitar has 42 strings on it," Metheny says. "One of the things that interests me about the guitar in jazz is what the instrument offers on an orchestration level — that's pretty much what I've been busy with since I saw you in Decatur, Ill."
 
McPartland plays an original tune of her own, "Ambiance." The title is a fitting description of Metheny's atmospheric music. McPartland knows how to create a great deal of atmosphere, particularly in her original compositions, through the piano's pedals and the judicious use of space between notes. Her playing links the impressionist influences of the past with Metheny's freer, progressive approach.
 
"Go Get It" is a bubbling, improvisational workout over a swift tempo, and in the Roy Haynes-inspired "Question and Answer," Metheny shows a more soulful though no less intellectual side.
 
"I think the question is well answered," McPartland says.
 
'Song X'
 
Given the trajectory of Metheny's career, it seems inevitable that he would cross paths with another highly original pioneer in jazz: Ornette Coleman. The meeting of the two (with Charlie Haden and Jack DeJohnette) for a three-day recording session in 1985 yielded the free-jazz album Song X. Metheny's trio performs an outtake, later reissued, from that session, "Police People." Metheny wrote the changes for the tune — unfamiliar territory for Coleman — and thePiano Jazz version rides a joyous, carnivalesque groove.
 
McPartland joins in for one of her favorite Coleman tunes, "Turnaround," to close this week's session. The quartet sticks mostly to the blues backbone of the tune, with McPartland bringing a proper 12-bar solo followed by Metheny's extension on the theme, with bluesy bends and brief accelerated improv flights here and there.
 
"Two Ornettes in a row," McPartland says. "That's a great way to end the show."
 
Originally recorded Nov. 1, 2005. Originally broadcast April 4, 2006.
5/29/13 1:43 AM
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Ali
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I love Marian McPartland, and love that show -- so many years of great guests.

It just always strikes me as so incongruous that she looks the way she does, and talks the way she does, and she's such a hardcore and knowledgeable jazz musician. Loves Ornette? Why should I be surprised?

I'll have to give that a listen. Thanks for pointing it out, soundoff71.
5/31/13 12:31 AM
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soundoff71
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Ali - and another surprise, at least to me... Metheny's most recent is him (with his drummer, Antonio Sanchez), doing John Zorn tunes. From what I've heard, it's hard to believe (again) this is the same guy that did, say, "The Road to You" or "Offramp" or .... you get the idea. THIS guy has a lot of grit.

Here's the first tune on the record, and the one I like best so far, Mastema:


I loved this.  How is the rest of the album?

5/31/13 12:59 AM
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Ali
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Edited: 05/31/13 1:03 AM
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I've only listened to half of it -- I like all of the tunes I've heard, but I do like "Mastema" the best, and by a fair amount. It's pretty ridiculous how good it is, even, so the record opens setting the bar pretty damn high! I'll know more soon.

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