Release Date: Jun 14, 2011
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Jazz, Guitar Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Folk Jazz
The jazz tradition has long taken pop songs, reimagined and reinvented them harmonically and rhythmically and re-presented them as vehicles for improvisation. Pat Metheny has done something different on What's It All About, his second Nashville-tuned baritone acoustic guitar record (with a handful of other acoustic instruments and no overdubs, but there are edits). Here he performs ten pop songs that have long been part of his personal arcana and recorded them so that we might hear what's inside these songs -- as songs.
If you grew up in the 1960s listening to pop music, then you know there was a melodic feast for the ears. Sure, rock’s joyous rumble was rising and becoming the soundtrack of an era, but there were just as many—actually more—hit songs that were rich in complex harmony and arcing melody. The Tin Pan Alley greats had nothing on Burt Bacharach, Paul Simon, Carole King and the like.
This unaccompanied acoustic guitar album (recorded alone, late at night, and sounding like it) is the first Metheny has made in his four-decade career in which there isn't a single original. All 10 tracks (including Girl from Ipanema, the Beatles' And I Love Her, and The Sound of Silence, alongside lesser-known pieces) have had a special meaning for him, some going back to childhood. The Sound of Silence, played on the Pikasso harp-guitar, is given a reverential treatment fitfully twisted by enigmatic harmonies and tonalities resembling a Japanese shamisen.
His fans are 100% guaranteed to love every moment. Daniel Spicer 2011 Guitarist Pat Metheny is probably about as successful as a jazz musician gets to be these days. The winner of multiple Grammy Awards, with scores of recordings under his belt, he’s amassed a huge following for his brand of highly-polished, richly melodic fusion-lite. Ever easy on the ear, his is a kind of adult-oriented jazz, engineered to go down smooth.