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PAT METHENY Speaking Of Now Live
(Eagle Rock EREDV367) (2003)
Jazz fusion from Peter Pan guitarist

Pat Metheny is one of those Peter Pan guitarists whose looks defy his age - like Gary Moore and Brian May. In fact, blink and Metheny actually looks similar to Moore, not least in terms of gurning ability. The sounds and vibes though, are poles apart.

Recorded in Japan in September 2002, this DVD will be a treat for Metheny fans who will drool over his frequent change of guitars and fretboard wizardry. Unaccustomed ears may yearn for a tune, it's all a bit muso and, well, jazzy. Only towards the end, you can almost hear the Tokyo audience breath a sigh of relief when he rips into 'The Roots Of Coincidence' which is the rockier track you've always wanted to hear him play. Before that 'As It Is' is outstanding, whilst 'The Gathering Sky' is a little bit reminiscent of Weather Report. But why on earth does Metheny play synth guitar that sounds like a synth keyboard when he's got a damn good keyboard player...with a synthesizer?

Other than that, this is very much excursions in twiddly-diddly, more notes per minute, and somewhat cerebral muzak. There are South American and world influences at work, and a fantastic multi-instrumentalist band.

However, the casual listener may be better served by the CD 'Speaking Of Now' which this gig was promoting. There is not a lot that a DVD can add to this performance and there is no bonus material: visually, the band are not particularly animated and they pretty much keep to the plot. Even guitarophiles hoping to learn some tips may be disappointed because the camera doesn't often dwell on the fingerwork. So for fans, worth a peek, for the rest, switch on Jazz FM. You're sure to hear a Metheny track sooner or later and it may be one of the more tuneful ones.



Review by David Randall

© 2003 All rights reserved.

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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