2020 has been the year of Pat Metheny for me in terms of jazz listening. His music is so gratifying that I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some sort of fan base that would rival that of the jam bands like Phish and the Dead. Sure the attendance for his shows would be limited by comparison to these groups, but I just imagine all these jazz fans around the world enjoying his music at home. And plus, he has the best hair. If I ever got to interview him we would spend a good amount of time on the subject of his hair alone.
I was lucky to see Pat play with his Orchestrion project, in which he played with a robotic orchestra that he designed. But other than that, I kind of left his music for a while until this year.
From This Place is his latest album. It’s definitely a cinematic one, and feels like a soundtrack at times throughout. The cover shows an image of a tornado, and the title track is called America Undefined, so I would imagine that there is some sort of political message here, even though most of the music is instrumental. However the intention was to pay homage to the soundtrack music of Hollywood which is cool.
There’s an appearance by Meshell Ndegeocello on vocals, and it’s his first album of original material since 2014’s release, Kin.
Clocking in at 1 hour and 16 minutes, it’s longer than a lot of the other albums I’ve been listening to lately, and as a result I had to break it up into two listening sessions. Overall I would say this album sounds pristine. A good mix is sort of like a men’s haircut, you shouldn’t notice that it happened. But I couldn’t help but notice how well all the instruments are leveled out here in proportion with each other. It definitely created an aspiration inside to be able to tap into such a great studio environment one day.
Thank you Pat for continuing to do such great work, inspiring musicians and artists around the world.
Released: February 21, 2020 on Nonesuch
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