[Dixielandjazz] Metheny & "G"

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 14 16:41:16 PDT 2004

That record review of the new CD, "Clashing Caca" on the All About Jazz
Web site, April 1st deserves to be printed out for all of us so here it

Steve Barbone

The Jazz Soul of P.D.Q. Bach - Pat Metheny / Kenny G | "Clashing Caca"

In a move that has left the jazz world buzzing and their legions of fans
traumatized in shock and disbelief, erstwhile polar opposites and
outspoken adversaries Pat Metheny and Kenny G have recorded together for
the first time, choosing as their common ground the singularly uncommon
music of the opprobrious nineteenth/eighteenth century composer P.D.Q.

At a media event held to trumpet the partnership (Pat’s brother, Mike,
played lead trumpet) the former combatants were in a conciliatory mood.
“It’s time we buried the hatchet,” guitarist Metheny said of the
alliance with Kenny G, his hands trembling and nostrils flaring at the
thought of such an eventuality. “Yes, I’ve made a few nasty remarks
about G — okay, a lot of nasty remarks — but deep down I’ve always
admired his... his... give me a moment here... Well, anyway, the label
thought our getting together would be a great idea, they came up with
some killer bread, and frankly, I’m quite...,” he cleared his throat,
paused, took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I’m quite... rather...
somewhat pleased with the results.” Metheny then excused himself,
hastened to the nearest men’s room and upchucked his lunch.

G, who speaks as he plays, using simple monosyllabic words, stretching
them to their utmost limit, then clinging to them for dear life, said,
“It was swell to play with Pat. He is good. We had fun, no fuss. Now we
friends. He Pat, me G.” And with that, he grabbed a nearby vine and
swung through the trees in Central Park to an escarpment where he was
reunited with Jane and Cheetah. Onlookers were understandably
flabbergasted to observe Kenny G actually swinging.

But what of the music, you may be wondering. Ah yes, the music. It’s
hard to meander far from mediocrity when deciphering P.D.Q. Bach
(1807?1742?), one of the more visionary charlatans of his time (whenever
that was), a man whose genius for recycling detritus discarded by others
has never been equaled and whose
 inscrutable leitmotifs have been lovingly preserved and annotated by
his stalwart champion, Prof. Peter Schickele. Metheny and G are
surprisingly compatible on such bite-size bon bons as “Concerto for Horn
and Hardart,” “Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Groups,” “Lip My Reeds”
and “Oedipus Tex,” but rather less successful on those pieces
misappropriated for larger ensembles including “Prelude to Einstein on
the Fritz,” “Last Tango in Bayreuth” and the anaphrodisic “Erotica

A special problem arises on “What’s My Melodic Line?,” as Kenny G seems
unable to answer the question (or even to comprehend it). Metheny does
his best to compensate, often strumming the backbeat in the style of
Freddie Green, but to no avail, as G appears determined to rehash riffs
from his latest double-platinum album “Sleek and  Sexy Sax Clichés for
Sweethearts.” And on “Hansel and Gretel and
 Ted and Alice,” the duo’s minimalist style seems somewhat at odds with
P.D.Q.’s habitually bombastic modus operandi.

In spite of its conspicuous flaws, the album is certain to generate a
warm response and record-breaking sales from jazz aficionados, the idly
curious and those who take pleasure in watching train wrecks. An eve
more ambitious sequel is planned, tentatively titled “P&G in the Key of

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