I was not a big Pat Metheny fan because I was into the same people he was into, and was kind of a snob about it: Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Why listen to Pat when you can listen to the giants themselves? But my dad had a CD of Pat Metheny’s called One Quiet Night, and I was converted.
Anyway, I read this article, link below, and I found it quite interesting in light of my new found appreciation of his guitar playing, especially with regards to his development as a jazz artist. He went through a Bebop apprenticeship, and I can see the value of such an intense period of study. Of course, you could argue that it is irrelevant given that current music is much less complicated harmonically, and played at slower tempos, but the fact that current music is comparatively lame means little to the true seeker. A rigorous program of practice and education is just what Metheny and this real musician requires.
In the article Pat talks about this and other fads and trends. Some have fallen by the wayside. Eddie Van Halen and John McLaughlin are two guitarists that Metheny admires but he says that they were copied so much that people grew sick of that sort of thing. Not such a burning issue, the worship, or lack thereof, of Eddie Van Halen. Also, not much seems to be happening on the Guitar Synth front. I was interested that Pat Metheny did a soundtrack for the film, The Falcon and the Snowman, and that it led to a collaboration with David Bowie: the song, “This is Not America.” Have to give that one a spin, and also the soundtrack. I like soundtrack composers. Cliff Martinez, former drummer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers, did one for Drive that is amazing. But I digress, and I promised my mother that I would curtail that tendency.
Now that I think of it, however, it is not such a digression, because Metheny’s album, One Quiet Night, the Cliff Martinez soundtrack for Drive, and also, now that David Bowie was already previously mentioned, his work with Brian Eno–the Ambient music–all share a certain quality, and I use them all as an aid to meditation. I programmed the music in 20 minute segments that are perfect for a short meditation. It really puts you in the zone, and also, you can keep track of how long you’ve been meditating. You know, that was something that was hard for me to do when I first started meditation practice. You have no sense of time and if you wonder how long you’ve been meditating it makes it seem like forever. Like, a watched pot never boils, or when you are at work at 4:20 on a friday, and anxious for the week to end, and the weekend to begin.
But it is not just as some kind of alarm clock that the music it great to meditate to. It puts you in the zone, like the goal of meditation is to think, or not to think at all really, exactly how this music sounds.
Anyway, if this sort of music is your cup of tea, I have a link to the interview, and also the Wikipedia entry that talks about Metheny’s One Quiet Night album, not the 1933 film directed by Fatty Arbuckle. It was recorded in Pat’s home studio with an acoustic baritone guitar built by Linda Manzer. Most of it was done in one day, with one microphone, and mistakes, as noted in the liner notes. Nevertheless, it won a Grammy for Best New Age Album of 2004. I am especially fond of Pat’s rendition of the Gerry and the Pacemakers tune “Ferry Cross the Mersey,” and for personal synchronicity, “Over on 4th Street.”