July 18, 2003
Richard Thompson Downloads

Songsmith Richard Thompson is offering several mp3 downloads on his website, including the insightful "I Agree With Pat Metheny." For background information about the Pat Metheny - Kenny G situation, read this interview excerpt.

Posted by david on July 18, 2003
Comments

Cool Metheny interview.
thx.
-s

Posted by: S on July 21, 2003 03:33 PM

I think what Metheny is targeting is his discomfort with someone as popular as Kenny G. playing Armstrong's tunes (overdubbing them) and calling his work jazz. I believe most musicians would feel this is misleading and irreverent. Many musicians mention on the Internet that Kenny is lying to his audience by telling his listeners that he playing Armstrong is jazz. Kenny is an R&B sax player who takes jazz tunes and makes them popular in the referenced recording effort. It is sort of the opposite of what jazz musicians do when they take pop tunes and make them jazz.

I think it needs to be recognized that not always does a jazz musician take pop music and further its "truth." In fact, many jazz musicians simply reiterate the phrases they have heard other greats play and emulate them as best they can. Is this worse then Kenny G. who clearly copies none of the greats? I am unsure. I think Kenny maybe an introduction for some listeners who need to develop their musical mind before they can accept the uniqueness of a musician playing the "truth". The "truth" is that we all hear differently... however, we all don't venture to become more in touch with our differences in concept... this is very scary for most musicians as our human nature is to want to be appreciated by others regardless of how mundane, simplistic or uninspired we are. Pat is willing to take some chances that most aren't willing to. Yet he often displays his fears by recording some of the more commercial efforts (and yes I acknowledge he needs to eat too).

Ultimately, what Kenny does is exploit his instrument and his ability to play soulfully as a white man. I don't think there is anything wrong with that especially since he does that well. As musicians, we all wish to be loved for what we hear. Our investment in the "truth" is based on how fearless we can be. I think musicians need to sh!t or get off the pot. If you are unwilling to play popular, then accept you don't sell as well as others. If you want to display your truth and you are conceptually different others... then do it because itís you. Chase the note vigorously until you are completely exposed. Treat it as war!!! Stop crying about it and accept it!!!

While I tend to agree with Metheny for the most part, reverence for the dead is probably not such a concern. I think Louis would have laughed about the effort, possibly even had been a little pleased at the attempt. Sometimes people donít understand that whether a musician is considered a genius or not it doesnít make him or her infallible. Every musician has off days. Every musician can show lack of luster. Greatness was not spewed out of Louisís horn each time he played. Louis had no more depth and understanding beyond his concept then anyone else. Louis was noted to make comments about his lack of appreciation for be-bop for example. Does that make him less of a musician? No. And it does not make Metheny less for saying things to 13-year-old kids in fear of being associated with musicians he does not respect. It makes him human.

Posted by: William Manser on February 28, 2004 03:08 PM
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