Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Hear This 

Wednesday, Feb 11 1998
Comments
Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny is so annoying. With an ear for modern harmony and a talent for catchy melodic improv second only to maybe Bill Frisell's, he's one of the slickest guitarists in contemporary jazz. But the two dozen albums in his discography, including those that sold in the hundred thousands, reek of lightweight fusiony dross better suited for the Kmart PA than for the rich legacy of serious jazz. One could argue that Metheny's longtime songwriting partner, keyboardist Lyle Mays, is the culpable influence. But that would imply that the guitarist has no mind of his own, which is hardly the case.

In 1985, Metheny teamed up with free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman for the startling Song X. A decade later he recorded the offbeat, noise-drenched solo record Zero Tolerance for Silence, arguably the most bizarre tangent a pop-jazz star has ever inflicted upon an established fan base. Then last year, while feeding his loyal followers Beyond the Missouri Sky and Imaginary Day -- serene duets with bassist Charlie Haden and breezy Metheny-Mays ear candy, respectively -- he paired up with U.K. guitarist and avant-garde visionary Derek Bailey for The Sign of 4, a three-disc explosion of corrosive colors and textures that chiseled his monolithic jazz-lite image into a jagged mass of abstract beauty.

Metheny's muse roams wild across a massive stylistic range, and that, understandably, irks jazzheads. But unlike most commercial success stories, this guitarist's mettle is without question.

-- Sam Prestianni

The Pat Metheny Group perform on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 14 and 15, at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Sixth Street). Tickets are $29-36; call 775-7722.

About The Author

Sam Prestianni

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"