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Thread: AAJ Review: Pat Metheny, From This Place

  1. #1

    AAJ Review: Pat Metheny, From This Place



    My review of Pat Methenyís From This Place, today at All About Jazz.

    It's been a full six years since Pat Metheny last released a studio recording. This, despite the guitarist who has become, in a career now in the midst of its fifth decade, one of the most famous and influential jazz guitarists of his (or, some would argue, any) generation, reportedly having enough material in the can for five or six releases.

    Nor is it as if he hasn't kept busy. The guitarist, for whom live performance has always been like life's blood itself, toured for up to ten months a year, early in his career, with his flagship Pat Metheny Group. Giving his band mates a couple of months off, Metheny would then hit the road again for a couple months with one of his side projects, like the trio with bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Billy Higgins responsible for 1984's Rejoicing, one of two final recordings released, that year, for his first label as a leader, Munich's ECM Records.

    Life changes (marriage, children, agingóhe turned 65 in August, 2019) have reduced some of Metheny's time spent on the road in more recent years. Still, he continues to clock up plenty of miles touring with his Side Eye project (featuring a revolving door of younger, up-and-coming musicians), but, even more significantly, with the extraordinary core unit behind From This Place that's been together for the past few years: pianist Gwilym Simcock; bassist Linda May Han Oh; and Antonio Sanchez, who's played on more Metheny projects than any other drummer since first joining Pat Metheny Group for Speaking of Now (Warner Bros., 2002).

    Metheny's current quartet has criss-crossed the globe several times in the past several years, focusing exclusively on extant material spanning the guitarist's nearly 45-year career as leader. This represents a significant change from prior groups, dedicated to playing new music from their (then-) latest recording, in addition to some selectively chosen earlier compositions.

    Instead, through exploring many of the infinite nooks and crannies of Metheny's existing repertoire over the past several years, the guitarist's current quartet has found and continues to evolve a kind of musical codeóa definitive way of doing things not unlike that encouraged by trumpet legend Miles Davis with his mid-'60s quintet featuring double bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and drummer Tony Williams. Metheny, also touring in recent years in an intimate duet setting with Carter, often asked the bassist about his prestigious past, including why Davis' mid-'60s quintet played so little of the material it was developing for its studio sessions when it performed live. From Metheny's own writing, in the press package for From This Place:

    Continue reading here...
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
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    Great review. I’m waiting for my vinyl copy to arrive.

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    Member Birdy's Avatar
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    Awesome write-up John, thank you!
    We are the grandchildren of apes, not angels
    But only we are gifted with the eyes to see
    On days without FEAR, when our heads are clear
    That angels, we could be
    (Marillion 2016)

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    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Thank you, John!
    A great review and you really whetted my appetite for it.

    I look forward to spinning it once it arrives.

  5. #5
    Thanks, as ever, for taking the time to read....and for the kind words!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

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    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Nice review, John.

    However, Re: the blurb about the title track, to the bottom of my wish list it goes...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    Nice review, John.

    However, Re: the blurb about the title track, to the bottom of my wish list it goes...
    Thanks, Dave....but....Why? Because itís politically motivated? I think itís a little unfair, with respect, as itís ultimate message is a positive one and itís far from anything politically direct or accusatory.

    Your decision, of course, but this is more generalized rather than specifically directed: and it remains a beautiful ballad, musically speaking.

    Anyway, like I said, your choice and if such things offend you, then I guess Iím glad I wrote about it. Also, at 5 mins itís a very small part of an album over 70 mins that will appeal, I think, to the broadest base of Metheny fans of any albums in some time.

    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Anyway, like I said, your choice and if such things offend you, then I guess I’m glad I wrote about it. Also, at 5 mins it’s a very small part of an album over 70 mins that will appeal, I think, to the broadest base of Metheny fans of any albums in some time.
    I'm glad you wrote about it too, John.

    Thank you for the nice review. I'm really looking forward to hearing this record when it comes out; I haven't even listened to the advance tracks that were released, because I want to save them for the complete experience.

    Pat Metheny is my 2nd favorite guitarist, just behind Allan Holdsworth, so I'm always excited about new music from him. He also seems to be just a very gracious human being too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    However, Re: the blurb about the title track, to the bottom of my wish list it goes...


    Oh well.

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    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Thankx John, great review!.
    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

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