Considering most of my recent coverage of Pat Metheny has been about his behemoth technical undertaking with his Orchestrion, this new project seems like quite an about-face.
Whereas the Orchestrion project (I also reviewed the Orchestrion Live performance I saw) was about creating an automated orchestra that would respond live to his commands, his new recording ‘What’s It All About’ is an intimate set of solo acoustic guitar recordings made in his home studio.
This isn’t the first such recording for Metheny – back in 2003 he used his newly created ‘Baritone Guitar’ with special tunings to produce the gorgeous (and Grammy winning) ‘One Quiet Night’. That session felt like you were sitting in the same room, just enjoying a master at work, playing mostly original songs with a couple of covers.
For ‘What’s It All About’ Metheny took a similar approach – he would regularly play the Baritone guitar, the 42-string Pikasso guitar or another acoustic instrument during down-time or sound checks while touring. Apparently his noodling on familiar tunes by the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel and others didn’t go unnoticed, as the crew would ask about the songs. He says that the idea of recording an acoustic set of all cover songs has been in his head ever since ‘One Quiet Night’, and now he has realized it using the Baritone, Pikasso and nylon string acoustic guitars.
Metheny did an ‘introduction’ video for Orchestrion project, and similarly he has produced one for ‘What’s It All About’ – so let’s enjoy!