My last post on Pat Metheny has made me think about a book chapter I had published recently on the impact of jazz guitarists on the Jazz canon. Out of all electric guitarists, I would suggest that Metheny has done more than anyone to redefine the jazz aesthetic. Almost from his first album in the mid 1970’s, his music not only portrayed a totally identifiable and original guitar style, but also an open mindedness regarding what jazz can be. I have always been fascinated about the way that he (and other musicians) uses technology to formulate his music both in the studio and live, but his ‘Orchestration’ album takes this process to a new level’. Not only is he able to perform alongside himself in the ‘virtual’ manner he achieved on Watercolours (1977) New Chautauqua (1979), but this time alongside a more embodied version of himself. Building on the work of guitarists such as John Mclaughlin and Larry Coryell, Metheny’s music and image has created not only a new definition for what jazz can sound like, but also the processes regarding its construction and visuals. To my mind he has to be considered one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, and I can only plead with the people who consider and construct the histories of jazz to give him the great respect he deserves. If anyone is interested in my book chapter let me know – I will forward a copy or upload it.
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