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Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

(6/14/07) I'll try to give a quick review for anyone interested. I would put this under Carla's Fav concert deal, but it was far from my favorite.

In way of disclosure, I'm a jazz affectionado from way back, early 70's at least, and have several of Metheny's cd's and like them.

This thing was in the Walton Arts Center, NW Arkansas, and the acoustics were great. Pretty new venue, well laid out. Every seat has a really good view. It is in the theatre format, balcony, non-smoking, etc.

That alone gave me a bit of trepidation about seeing jazz there. Just from my own background, jazz oughta be in a smoke-filled dive near the coast, with charectors of every description and of every degree of sobriety nearby. Think, say, Paris after WWII, or the venerable Lighthouse, the oldest jazz dive on the west coast. Tiny, but full of vibes. The Blue Note in NY, at least last time I was there, many yrs ago, had that same ambience.

Not so this place. Very clean, tuxedo'd escorts to one's seat, well-mannered and well-dressed crowd. I thought I was in trouble when the folks in line ahead of me thought they were buying tickets for "Cats". Jeez. Season ticket holders I guess.

The show opened with Metheny playing a Bari guitar....really nice deep bass notes from the thing. This was solo, and he did about 4 solo numbers. In retrospect, his solo stuff was my favorite part of the show. He followed a tune or two on the baritone with the multi-stringed custom-built axe you may have seen. I think it has an additional 13 sympathetic strings. Also nice stuff...reminded me of the Japanese 'Koto'. Vaguely sitar sounding as well, but cleaner.

Then I believe he did a piece on the Paul, after which the rest of the trio came out.

Anthony Sanchez (d) and Christian McBride (b).

I ended up pretty disappointed, and wondered why all the way home. All I could come up with was this:

These guys were all flawless in their own right.
They played well together even. But there was ZERO inspiration there, for me at least. I mean, not only did they not swing, there was no
one entire measure that you could even nod or tap your foot to. Now before you snicker at me, remember that I'm familiar with Pat's music and thought I knew what I was getting into. I love that cd, Under the Missouri Sky, I think it is. There's a modicum of "swing" in there.

McBride had a high stool behind his stand-up bass, and looked pretty bored. I don't blame him. There was one tune where for 20 mins, all he could do was hit the bottom E. He mixed it up once, and hit an E an octave higher. I'm not kidding.

It was, what's the word? Kinda self-indulgent music for Metheny. He never missed a note...I just didn't like the notes very much.

Great drummer. Mighta just been me....but I've never seen a jazz group I didn't like, and I didn't much care for these guys. And I'm taking nothing away from their musicianship...they just don't work together. If your a die-hard fan, by all means know yourself out and see them. I thought I was a bigger fan that I turned out to be.

This damned thing was hard to describe. I had a friend considering going way out of her way for this, and now I'm really glad she didn't. I woulda been uncomfortable because I enjoyed it so little.

This turned out longer than intended. Cheers,

Craig

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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/16/2007 3:48 AM

Cabbage Rackus (4) wrote:

Oh well bummer.
I guess i needed to be there or not.



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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/16/2007 4:33 AM

Craig Lindsey (5518) wrote:

Yeah, you sure did need to be there or not.



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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/16/2007 3:46 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

Welcome to Wholenote, Cabbage. This place has has suffered from an influx of pseudo-names and I hope you're not one of them.

Well, I logged in once as a pseudo to see how it's done about a month ago. Very easy to do, I found out. Also easy to find any computer with internet and log in as a valid member under one's own name.

I hope you have computer skills.

I am actually, as I am logged in on a public computer with plenty of hacker protection, having problems accessing various responses, or messages for me, now. This site is busy today, it seems--perhaps that's why.

I never had this problem last fall when many more members were on-line than are on-line today.

If you have computer skills, please post advice, as any positive new information is always appreciated here.

Thank you, Carla

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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/16/2007 9:32 AM

David Mackie (11072) wrote:

After thinking about this briefly, it occurs to me that many of our current crop of guitar virtuosi have, perhaps through no fault of their own, become entertainment commodities.

It's a fact that most people don't really listen to music. For them, music is there as a lifestyle accoutrement. An artist like Pat, or EVH, or SRV comes along and offers a sound that is at once totally accessible, yet somehow offers a spark of the possibility of something more, which is very attractive to the casual listener. It offers them the chance to be hip (at least in their own minds) without the hard work of listening to something that's really demanding, say, the orchestral works of Charles Ives.

Imho, Pat Metheny has a difficult line to walk. His sound and technique are blatant invitations to the mass adulation that puts him in venues like the one where you saw him, where the nice people will love whatever comes from his fingers, and the pay is oh so... renumerative. But his own compositional tendencies keep him from transcending that "aural wallpaper" label that some critics tag him with. I believe he probably could do better, but it might not be in his best financial interest, and that widespread adulation is probably pretty easy to get used to.

Or he might have just had an off night. ;-)



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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/16/2007 5:49 PM

Andy Wood (5136) wrote:

I think you are spot on David.

Pat Metheny is far too gentile for his own good. It does serve his
financial interests because he is a more acclaimed musician by
non-musicians than by musicians. I think musicians applaud his
ability but not so much his compositions. The general public
may buy his albums because they are a different style and they
challenge the simplicity of their usual listening material, but not
too challenging.

For people who listen to jazz and fusion, it doesn't go far
enough. It borders on elevator music. It has a homogenous
character that prevents getting to intense - it's just all very level.

When you compare his compositions to some his
contemporaries like Scott Henderson in Tribal Tech, they really
are quite staid. Tribal Tech took the opposite route, they
decided to write for the music. They made some great stuff and
pushed boundaries all the time but made very little money off
album sales. They were a smoking band though. For anyone
bored with the Pat Metheny conservatism, buy "Primal Tracks" or
"Illicit" by Tribal Tech - you won't be bored!

Andy




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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/16/2007 6:31 PM

Craig Lindsey (5518) wrote:

I tend to agree with both you and David. Its the compositions themselves that lack definition, or some sense of resolving, and coming to fruition. With a few exceptions of course.

There are some themes that Metheny gets started on, that show great promise. But somehow, the piece just gets shoved into another key, and another, and never quite "gets there".

What I love about jazz is that much room is generally made for spontaneous interplay within the group. In my recent experience, there was plenty of improv, but little interplay. Sounds great on Weather Channel snippets, though!

Craig (needs more serious jazz) Lindsey





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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/18/2007 3:54 PM

Adriano Parmiggianno (6926) wrote:

Disco rocks!!!!! All kidding aside, most people rate Metheny as the king of jazz, its modern-day saviour. For those reasons I gave him more than one viewing (TV concerts) and listenings (CDs from....the library). After this arduous journey I've come to two conclusions:
1) Pat Metheny really is the king
2) I will never appreciate the king



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Re: Saw the Pat Metheny Trio live last night....

6/18/2007 3:30 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

Hi Andy,

I guess I'm complimenting all of you here on the fantastic input, intellect and writing skills.

Keep up the great work. Makes for such an interesting site--starting to look like the WN I joined last summer. Thanks a Million!!!

Later, Carla

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On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/16/2007 3:06 PM

Tracy Hardy Johnson (11666) wrote:

Craig, I'm glad you made it to the show, even if it wasn't all you thought it should be.

Jazz for me has been experienced primarily through recordings or live concerts in an academic setting. So I don't have the smoky bar venue memory getting in my way of experiencing the music. [Aside: I'm not sure the smoky bar patrons, under varying degrees and kinds of substance influence, could fully appreciate the intellectual demands of the music any more than the nice clean folks who came to the show, but that's another topic.:) ]

I've experienced a couple of shows in the nice clean comfy concert setting, and they were both awesome.

One was earlier this year by a jazz quartet from Indiana University. The trumpet player had conducted a workshop for the college music program here, and his quartet played in the evening. It was wonderful jazz, and the bass player was just jaw-droppingly amazing all night. The drummer was the hippest, coolest jazz drummer I've ever seen. Everybody loved it. During the first half I was totally focused on every note the bass player and drummer were putting out; during the second half I was able to "back off" a bit and just take in the whole ensemble. Remember, this was in the music building recital hall, not a huge venue, a bit more casual than a concert subscription series locale, but definitely not Hard Times Saloon. :)

The other was a couple of years ago in the Twin Cities, when I took our older daughter to see Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. These guys are always going to give you a good show and be challenging to the ears as well.

What struck me most about the Flecktones show was the venue; the fact that they could play in a setting like and that people would fill the hall and pay a fair amount of money to hear them do that. It sure beats a weekend at the blues bar where we play for a percentage of the till. I think it's wicked to have to wish for people to drink a lot just so we can get paid!

So maybe Dave was right . . . maybe Pat just had an off night. Or Christian McBride.

I'm thinkin' that you can probably catch a good jazz show from any university/college ensemble. They're still making live music, and not trading on their famous name, 'cuz they don't have one.

Thanks a bunch for the report.

;^)



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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/16/2007 3:20 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

Hi Tracy,

Thank you for your post too. Very well-stated.

Have a great weekend and keep up the good pickin' with your band. I enjoyed your clip a month or so back. Ya'll have pizzazz, not to mention talent.

Respectfully, Carla



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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/16/2007 4:21 PM

Craig Lindsey (5518) wrote:

Points well-taken, Tracy. It wasn't really the venue that made me grumpy. I was looking for a scapegoat for my kind of dull time.

I saw the Chick Corea acoustic trio at the Blaisdell hall in Honolulu, a fairly similar setting, and the show couldn't have been any better. I've also seen college jazz ensembles that just kicked!

When I was first introduced to jazz, though, it was in the darker seedier joints, and I'll probably always associate it thusly, to some degree.

Good to see ya kid.



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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/16/2007 4:57 PM

David Mackie (11072) wrote:

I saw the Flecktones at the Roccoco in Lincoln a few years ago. It's a converted movie theater roughly the same size as the Fitzgerald. (as near as I could tell from the Prairie Home movie) I think that's about the perfect size for that type of group. It allows the electronic gear to run at optimal levels without overpowering the audience, yet it's small enough to feel fairly close, even in the nosebleed seats where I was.



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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/18/2007 3:47 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

Hi Tracy,

I have to agree on the fact that the best way to attend a concert or any event in one's life is clean and sober. When our senses become impaired or enhanced, we often make mistakes in our judgements of what we are really seeing or hearing, not to mention the threat we are to the well-being of others when we leave a concert in a "cloudy" state of mind, due to ingestion of chemicals, especially alcohol.

As a mother and grandmother, I have strong feelings about substance abuse and the lack of responsibility for ones actions due to the vicious cycle or roller-coaster of substance abuse. Having learned many years back that every vice has consequences, I am less tolerant than the general population. Often the people who complain loudest about smokers are the ex-smokers (perhaps because the ex-smokers know how addicting and harmful cigarettes are; likewise, they're tempted by the cigarettes they are cursing).

Later, Carla



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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/18/2007 4:52 PM

Charles Gacsi (42523) wrote:

Dear Carla,

Partly true. The ex smoker took a lot of effort to get cleaner lungs. Living longer may be a blessing. Around hospitals the distance out here amounts to about 50 feet from the entrance.

Places that cater to the smokers may be heavily fined. The odor from the smoke penetrates clothing, leather, walls. It is ok as person that was smoking is present for some time after the last puff. Those who have lung conditions find their breathing is impared.

MOst smokers are really not aware of how long their smoky breath can linger.

long as hands are washed.

It has been about 20 years since I smoked. I have not had to paint the interior of my home in that time. When guests come over they go outside and puff away. I never tell them not to smoke. It is just inside that I keep clean air.

I do have some breathing problems as a residue from long ago. That is my fault as no one made me do it.

Gpod luck to all.

Charlie



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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/18/2007 9:58 PM

Inactive Member wrote:

So glad you kicked the habit, Charlie. They aren't called Cancer Sticks for nothin'. You're lungs can heal but never completely. There is a point of no return once damage occurs.

I know that California is basically a NO SMOKING state. Sean Penn had something to say about that in THE GAME with Michael Douglas, Sean playing his younger, unruly (heartful) brother.

It was when they met in the restaurant for Douglas's birthday and Sean was just ready to light up and Michael told him "no smoking..." and Sean said "F... California" and lit up anyway (don't know if Sean Penn has quit yet.
That was just before Sean presented him with the gift card for CRS and before "The Game" started.

I reference this because it seems like we've been in THE GAME since I entered WN--funny things have happened which I've had nothing to do with, nor any control over--weird ride. None of you would understand the funny things and I haven't questioned them either, just noticed them--a pattern of some sort and it began as soon as I entered WN.

I only smoke outside, Charlie. Never smoke when I'm driving (it's a distraction, just like cell phones that can cause an accident), the smoke in a vehicle is noxious and nevers leaves the upholstery. Besides, when you put in a lot of clutch time, you smoke like a fiend, same with sitting at a computer or not so long ago, a typewriter. Dostoyevsky was a chain smoker (from the historians documentation) and he put in long long hours with pen in hand under tremendous stress to meet deadlines and in debt due to his other addiction--gambling. At the time he died, they believed it was Tuberculosis--consumption. Modern day Lit. critics now are quite sure he died of lung cancer.

I have to close. This place is closing.

Glad to see your posts, Charlie. I feel greatly honored to be on a website with such a GREAT MAN as yourself. Thanks for being with us here, Charlie and please stay for a long time.

Sincerely and Respectfully, Carla






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Re: On the subject of Venues, Jazz or Otherwise

6/19/2007 1:42 AM

Charles Gacsi (42523) wrote:

Dear Carla,

I wrote a lesson on Caffeine and Nicoteen. It is how I happened to get off the stuff. Indians revenge.

In California There is a fine for lighting up in a crowd. Beaches in many cities are off limits for smoking. They are pressing for smoking off limits in your own car if a person has minor children aboard.

There is only one good thing the cigs were good for and that was to take the lit end and hold it over the wet ink on the page so it would not smear.

Take care.

Charlie

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