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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... is it just for the moment we live?
Following last year's unique solo date which saw him playing an ensemble of instruments from his guitar via the Orchestrion, Pat Metheny returns here to the musical ground he explored on 2003's One Quiet Night: solo acoustic guitar, no overdubs, recorded late at night in his home studio. Given his reputation as a prolific and skilled composer, some listeners were...
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by Jeremy Walton

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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Quiet Night
OK, so you like "One Quiet Night", which is not the best Metheny album by miles. Here is the same evocative, sensitive stuff, mulled over and overdubbed, despite a previous reviewer's insistence to the contrary. It's great and he does it great but for those who thirst for the exuberant, desolate and sublime offerings of The Pat Metheny Group this is Pat pedalling/peddling...
Published on 21 Jun 2011 by Fortuna Smiles


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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... is it just for the moment we live?, 20 Jun 2011
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
Following last year's unique solo date which saw him playing an ensemble of instruments from his guitar via the Orchestrion, Pat Metheny returns here to the musical ground he explored on 2003's One Quiet Night: solo acoustic guitar, no overdubs, recorded late at night in his home studio. Given his reputation as a prolific and skilled composer, some listeners were surprised to find a few covers (including, somewhat incongruously, "Ferry Cross The Mersey") in that set. Well, they'll be astonished at the tracklist for this record which, for the first time in his thirty-five year career, contains no original material at all.

Instead, Metheny tackles pop songs that, he says, he was enjoying before he ever wrote anything (or even, in a few cases, picked up an instrument). These include such oft-recorded chestnuts as "And I Love Her", "The Sound Of Silence" and "Alfie" (whose opening line gives the record its title). But Metheny brings his considerable talents to bear on his interpretations of these pieces, carefully drawing out the melodies and adding new harmonies in a loving homage to these timelessly memorable tunes. This is a worthy companion set to "One Quiet Night": exuding the same intimate, thoughtful atmosphere, whilst probably being more accessible, given the initial familiarity of the setlist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pat - almost a visual experience, 17 Mar 2014
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
Pat Metheny never disappoints, in my opinion. This abstract album makes for great listening, especially late at night. Jazz guitar never sounded better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SMOOTH RELAXING AND BEAUTIFULLY PLAYED, 26 Mar 2013
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
A please to listen to and to relax by. Beautifully constructed albumn and beautifully played. A class act and an excellent addition to my jazz collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't regret this purchase, 6 Dec 2012
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
This is a brilliant album that any methany fan will play and play. I am pretty discerning. This is excellent
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent stuff, 3 Feb 2012
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Paulo Goucha (Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
I love this tenor guitar and its wonderful warm sound. It's different. But it's sure in the hands of Pat Metheny
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
All it's good as usual
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5.0 out of 5 stars its all about great music, 4 Oct 2011
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This review is from: What's It All About [+Digital Booklet] (MP3 Download)
this cd is brilliant.very relaxing music of familiar songs.guitar playing is outstanding as you should expect from mr metheney.havnt worked out what the digital booklet is yet though.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars While re-imagining familiar material, he retunrs to his roots. Extremely enjoyable., 20 Jun 2011
This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
For many jazz fans, listening to Pat Metheny can be both a rewarding and frustrating experience.
As a teen guitarist for legendary vibe player Gary Burton, Metheny played contemporary jazz with a hint of fusion. By 1977, the young prodigy branched off to form his own band, recording a series of albums that sometimes verged ion new age territory, and even dabbled in the avaunt-garde (most notably with 1994's baffling experiment Zero Tolerance of Silence). Often he crossed into the rock world, recording with David Bowie for the 1985 film Falcon & The Snowman The [DVD] (their collaboration, "This Is Not America," still proves haunting).
n recent years, beginning with 2003's Grammy-winning "One Quiet Night:, Metheny has returned to his roots, namely playing acoustic guitar with minimal production.
His latest album, "What It's All About", continues in this vein, showcasing his considerable finger-picking skills and ability to reinterpret classic songs.
Although sometimes verging into "smooth jazz" territory, the album's delicate renditions of The Beatles, The Stylistics, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and many more proves a mainly enjoyable listen.
For the new album, Metheny selected songs that influenced him in his formative years, and the tracks range from rock to jazz to folk. Although the tunes have been covered by many artists--"The Sound of Silence," "Slow Hot Wind," and "And I Love Her," to name a few-Metheny manages to make them his own.
"The Sound of Silence" is accentuated by Asian elements, while "Betcha By Golly, Wow" benefits from a jazz makeover. This standout track effectively highlights Metheny's superior abilities as a guitarist and arranger, often straying from the original melody to take the R&B classic in new directions.
The sultry "Slow Hot Wind" is stripped down to its bare elements, allowing audience to hear the melody and beautiful chord changes.
A Henry Mancini staple, the song also known as "Lujon" evokes images of steamy beaches in Brazil. Metheny continues his obvious affection for Brazilian jazz with Jobim's "Garota de Ipanema" (Portuguese for "The Girl from Ipanema"), although his sleepy interpretation does not do justice to the melody and the important exotic rhythms that make the song a everlasting favorite.
Other highlights include his jazzy makeover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David gem "Alfie"--once again, Metheny's version removes the song of its lyrics and original production to lay bare the melancholy, sophisticated aspects of the 1960s classic.
Many artists have covered The Beatles' catalog, but Metheny's "And I Love Her" is a lovely addition to the list. His intricate finger-picking spotlights the track's Spanish flair, and does not stray too far from the original's structure.
However, he does expand upon the bridge, adding touches to the melody and astounding the listener with his complicated solos.
While "What It's All About" maintains a mellow mood, he departs from the tone with "Pipeline," an offbeat choice for a jazz guitarist. Originally recorded by the 1960s group The Chantays, the song's lightning fast guitar riffs and overall spooky tone signaled the emergence of "surf rock," later perfected by The Ventures and Dick Dale.
While Metheny does retain the track's rhythmic guitar work, he lends the song a Spanish spin with his six-string acoustic guitar work.
While it bears only a passing resemblance to the original, it demonstrates how rock can overlap with jazz, as it does often in Metheny's music.
I lost track of Metheny after 1990's Still Life (Talking), which produced the new age track "Last Train Home.
"Still" a staple on smooth jazz radio, it showed that while Metheny certainly had the guitar chops, he still had the tendency to lean toward meandering tunes that (contrary to the song title) simply went nowhere.
But "What It's All About" marks a welcome return to his jazz roots, even if it sometimes seems too laid-back. Metheny's skill in re-imagining familiar material, rather than simply copying the originals note-for-note, is indeed impressive and should attract his original fans who may yearn for a simpler, more intimate portrait of the artist.
My peaks: "Cherish", "That's The Way I Have Always Herd It Should Be", "And I Love Her", "Betcha by Golly, Wow". K O'Toole
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 8 Mar 2012
This review is from: What's It All About [+Digital Booklet] (MP3 Download)
I was sitting in Sainsbury's petrol station, waiting for my husband to fill the car (!) when I heard a track from this album on Jamie Cullum's programme on Radio 2. It immediately caught my attention as I love guitar music and have a couple of Pat Metheny albums from the 1980s. I didn't realise how good he was as a solo artist and this album is one I listen to over and over. It's melodic and calming, giving a new twist to some well known favourites like "Sound of Silence". I love it and would strongly recommend it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what is it all about?, 5 Nov 2011
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This review is from: What's It All About (Audio CD)
As someone with dozens of Metheney's releases, some of which I'd save from a burning building, others which I just don't get, I hope I can make a useful comment.

I like this more than 'One quiet night'. It amazed me as a lesson in melody and harmony for solo guitar, with more melody wrung from 'Alfie' and 'Rainy Days and Mondays' than I knew was there. 'Betcha By Golly Wow' is something I could barely listen to in the original Stylistics version, but pared down and represented, it works.

I know PM does some things that confuse some of us and I'd never dare to question his approach whether it is trying to make us uncomfortable, or playing pop tunes like this, as an artist he does what he does and you make your choice.

Anyone who has always wanted 'Girl from Ipanema' played at their funeral but is worried about the suitability of the light and bouncy nature of the song, good news! PM has re-done it as a dirge. Amazing. Worth buying for the ones that work.
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