What’s It All About – Pat Metheny’s Latest

When I heard about this one, I didn’t know what to think.  Pat playing tunes from the 60’s and 70’s, and not his own?  What?  And just Pat, sans group, trio and bots.

Wow.  Pat playing the Carpenters Rainy Days and Mondays?  I would have never admitted it until now that I used to love that song as a kid.  It’s locked into my memory for instant recall, sometimes irritatingly so.  And I would never in a million years have guessed it was one of Pat’s favorites.  I guess I thought Pat only ever listened to jazz and classical for inspiration.  Pat once admitted in an interview that he missed the whole rock-in-roll scene completely when he started playing guitar as a teenager.  However, he must have been listening to the radio a lot as a kid before he began playing guitar.  And this is evident in some of his selections on the record.  Pat’s spin on Rainy Days is nothing short of brilliant on the baritone guitar.  Pat likes to include snipits of his own work sometimes on new tunes, but on this song, he includes a phrase from Midnight Cowboy – listen for it near the end of the song.  There are some other songs along these lines that I would love to hear Pat interpret including Alone Again, Naturally and Starry Starry Night.

Chrerish.  I’m old enough to remember this song too and it’s one of my favorite tunes from the record.  Pat’s interpretation is beautiful, as you might expect – very true to the original melody playing it with the utmost respect adding only a few touches that make it his own as only Pat can do.  I cherish the song even more after hearing Pat’s version.

Garota de Ipanema.  If I had to name a favorite, it’d be this one.  I think partly because it is my favorite original tune of the lot.  Pat significantly reinvents this one as to be nearly unrecognizable from the original if you’re not paying close attention.  He uses pauses throughout which gives it a distinctly dramatic and melancholic feel. His flourish of harmonics at the end provide the song a beautifully haunting coda; there’s a longing there, as if a couple were slowing releasing a hand holding grip as they parted, knowing it would be the last time they’d ever be together.

On the Beatles tune, And I Love Her,  Pat gives an upbeat take on the original which to me had a much more nostalgic tone.  I like both versions very much.  I’d like to hear Pat’s take on Blackbird for a future recording or at least a future sound check if he hasn’t already.

There are a number of other songs on the album all equally compelling including the jazz standard ’round Midnight, that will no doubt put a smile on John McLaughlin’s face when he hears it; Alfie, the mesmerizing take on a brilliant composition by Burt Bacharach; Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence played on a 42-string Pikasso guitar and Carly Simon’s classic, That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be.  Each song is beautifully interpreted and masterfully performed.

Another must buy CD from one of the great American artists of the 20th and 21st century.  Thanks Pat!

Musings on Rand Paul, C. Sheen & OxiClean


Charlie Sheen almost makes sense but then he doesn’t.

Rand Paul almost made sense too on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and finally did, not that I agreed, thanks to Jon’s clarification on what he meant when he said we are better off because of regulations.  He meant regulations gone awry can have negative consequences.  Something about we can’t have clean air and electricity too; that there needs to be a balance and I agree, but it seems he meant that we have to chose between clean air or cheap electricity, that we can’t have both, which is simply ludicrous.  The thing is with Paul, is that his ideological purity and rigidity gets him in trouble like when he tried to argue against Civil Rights legislation on the Rachel Maddow show by saying it went too far.

Funny, when I think of his name, I can’t help but be reminded of the novelist, philosopher and noted atheist Ayn Rand, who like Paul, believed in limited government and individualism.  She’d have been a polarizing Tea Party member were she alive today.  And then his name also conjures up the great jazz pianist and composer Ran Blake. I am not a fan of Rand.  Paul that is.

Very much like Rand Paul and Charlie Sheen, the Oscar winning Inception made no sense whatsoever.

An electric motorcycle is an oxymoron.  And OxiClean is little more than hydrogen peroxide.

Herbie Hancock’s Sunlight LP is probably the funkiest least heard album of the 70’s.

John McLaughlin’s Electric Guitarist LP could be my favorite record of the 70’s, and I bought it in a head shop (Peaches Records and Tapes) without ever having heard any of his stuff before, though I had read somewhere, Guitar Player magazine I think, that he could play lightening fast.   A blind buy, and one hell of a pick!

Stay tuned for more episodes of The Thing Is…..