Image courtesy of Wikipedia
In case you weren’t around at the start of the last century, an Orchestrion is a mechanical device that “plays music and is designed to sound like an orchestra or band”. They are sort of a player piano gone wild, where multiple instruments are independently controlled and triggered in a similar piano roll fashion to produce synchronized music.
For his latest project, legendary guitarist Pat Metheny has teamed up with some technical experts from the Boston area to construct a modern re-imagining of the orchestrion. The CD release is due out later this month on the Nonesuch label, and is highlighted here.
The music will inevitably be categorized as ‘jazz’, but this is a case where labels are irrelevant. Regardless of your personal tastes in music, I encourage you to watch this amazing 7-minute video that Nonesuch records put together to highlight the amazing music Metheny has created using some very interesting technology.
Here is a YouTube version of the video put up by PatMethenyMedia (Pat’s official YouTube site):