PAT METHENY GROUP: SPEAKING OF NOW LIVE
Review by Michael Jacobson
Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby, Richard Bona, Guong Vy, Antonio
Director: Takayuki Watanabe
Audio: Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Stereo
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Eagle Eye
Length: 135 Minutes
Release Date: November 25, 2003
Pat Metheny first arrived on the music scene decades ago, he brought an elegant
fire to world of jazz guitar that opened ears and inspired smiles.
Today, after working as a solo artists, with other stars, in a trio and
with his group, he remains one of the most consistently admired and acclaimed
musicians around, winning five Grammies, producing and recording a string of
well received albums, and touring constantly to the delight of devoted fans
around the world.
of Now Live showcases
the Pat Metheny group on stage in Tokyo, playing some older favorites and plenty
of new material from their then-current album Speaking of Now.
It’s a solid concert, with both Pat and his fellow musicians in
fine form. The PMG is one band that
benefits greatly from performing live; it gives them the opportunity to expand
their songs, flesh them out, play around with the arrangements, and just flat
out jam. In other words, you
don’t really know what these tunes can be until you see these guys working
them for all they’re worth in front of a crowd.
Pat’s solo acoustic opening of the eloquent “Last Train Home” and a
rousing guitar/drum piece “Go Get It”, the band comes together and marches
through more than two hours of great jazz and fusion music.
Pat leads the way with his fiery and beautiful work on tunes like “How
Insensitive”, electrifies the sound with synth guitar on “Proof”, and
brings in more acoustic work on “A Place in the World”.
he generously relinquishes the spotlight to his bandmates as the concert
progresses. Every man gets his
chance to shine…the most memorable solo might be the strange, stirring trumpet
sounds from Cuong Vu on “Scrap Metal”.
partner Lyle Mays remains one of my favorite men on keys, as he lifts each song
with his beautiful voicings, and co-producer Steve Rodby shows off his superb
touch on the upright bass. Add the
dexterous Antonio Sanchez on drums and the soaring vocals of Richard Bona (also
rhythm guitar and percussion), and you have all the elements that have made the
Pat Metheny Group a crossover success for so many years.
may appreciate this concert first and foremost, but even the casual fan is
liable to understand the appeal of the inimitable Pat Metheny, and why he’s
remained one of the most relevant guitar heroes for such a long time now.
As someone who’s played guitar for many years himself, I can tell you
flat out…it ain’t as easy as he makes it look!
on video, this concert is decidedly watchable, but suffers some of the
limitations of tape. Bits of color
bleeding are noticeable, and the range of lighting effects from hot to low are
occasionally too much to ask for from a magnetic media source.
Images are a bit soft, but still distinguishable.
Nothing here should make you pass up the title, but it won’t be one of
the best looking ones you own.
and Dolby Digital tracks bring the passion of Metheny’s music to
life…they’re listed on the back as 4.1 tracks, but from my experience with
it, I believe it’s a subwoofer signal that’s missing.
There’s still plenty of dynamic range and clarity, from the loudest
chords to the lightest percussion sounds.