Until recently, I was kind of indifferent to Pat Metheny. He’s not a musician to whom I gave much thought. He called out Kenny G in a quite entertaining way, and I guess his music wasn’t unusually pretentious or self-indulgent compared with that of other white jazz musicians of the 70s, 80s and 90s. I was never into it, but it didn’t make me particularly angry either. But as I say, that was until recently.
Recently, I became aware of Metheny’s Pikasso guitar. It’s a 42-string cubist-inspired instrument. An interesting project for the maker, for sure, and something that guitar enthusiasts might very well like to take a closer look at. But to play this thing in front of a paying audience and act like this is the work of, what was it Pat? “How to function as a professional soloist?” Urgh.
See. The Theorbo is a cool instrument. It’s like two instruments in one. Useful. Pat Metheny’s guitar, however, is not five guitars, it’s half a harp, and he plays it like a not very good harpist. There is no part of this that that wouldn’t have been better executed with other, existing instruments. If you want harp music, do as you’re told and wait patiently for Catrin Finch’s next album. If you want to go to Berkeley and listen to new age music dressed up avant-garde jazz, then join the queue and buy ticket to a Metheny show.
Thanks to Damon for suggesting this runner-up for “most wanky guitar solo of all time”