Monday, May 27, 2013
Pat Metheny: An Appreciation
Only fools read the comments posted to YouTube. I am what I am.
A testy exchange at the streaming video site has stuck with me. A commenter suggested that Pat Metheny is under-appreciated. How can the recipient of 19 Grammy Awards, someone replied, possibly be considered under-appreciated?
Grammy Awards are nice, but industry accolades shouldn't be mistaken for artistic commendations. Many jazz classicists abhor Metheny's experimental streak. His soothing contemporary jazz work is dismissed by fans of more experimental sounds. Lots of rock fans disdain Metheny's penchant for quiet beauty.
Metheny is one of the most misunderstood- and yes, under-appreciated- musicians of our time.
From his game-changing 1976 debut as a leader to last week's release of an album documenting his interpretation of John Zorn's contemporary spiritual compositions, Metheny has continually defied expectations.
The native of Lee's Summit has constructed an army of robots, popularized futuristic world music, worked as a member of one of the most essential avant-garde jazz groups of all time and is responsible for impenetrable walls of noise. The styles may vary, but everything he touches exudes Metheny's distinct sensibility.
Very few artists working in any genre possess a fraction of Metheny's range. As an eclectic genius, Metheny is in a class with the likes of Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Brian Eno and David Bowie.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)