sabato 19 novembre 2011

Pat Metheny intervistato da Acoustic Guitar

Ancora una intervista a Pat Metheny, pubblicata questa volta sul sito specializzato Acoustic Guitar.
Durante la conversazione, il nativo del Missouri offre uno sguardo alla sua pagine più antiche, tra ricordi di un precoce apprendimento degli accordi della chitarra attorno al fuoco e la scoperta della chitarra acustica negli anni '70;  inoltre parla del suo aprroccio alla chitarra baritono che è la voce principale del suo ultimo album What’s It All About.

Ecco un estratto della lunga intervista:
You play the baritone guitar almost exclusively on your new album. What led you play it so much?
METHENY My use of that guitar began with the One Quiet Night record about ten years ago. I’d had the baritone made by [Canadian luthier] Linda Manzer lying around for a few years. I’d pick it up and play a couple of widely voiced chords and think, wow, that’s gorgeous. But then, as soon as I’d play some close voicings, it was so muddy that I’d wonder what I’d ever use it for. I couldn’t really crack it. Then I remembered this guy, Dr. Ray Harris from my hometown, who was this eccentric but brilliant guy—a chiropractor, inventor, and jazz guitarist. He would make weird guitars for himself in his garage. One of them was a double-neck guitar. The lower of the two necks was partly in a baritone range with the low strings tuned down a fifth and the top two strings tuned up an octave. I remember picking it up and playing it when I was a teenager thinking, wow, that’s great.
I flashed on that when I made One Quiet Night. So I took off the middle two strings on the [Manzer] baritone and put high strings on there. Then this whole universe just opened up. I hit “record” and played very freely for about six hours—that’s where the bulk of [One Quiet Night] came from. Later I came back and did a few conventional tunes. Over the past ten years, I’ve played the baritone in virtually every concert I’ve done—close to a thousand gigs. I’ve really figured the instrument out now.
What prompted you to make this record of cover songs?
Last year I did about 150 concerts playing the music I wrote for Orchestrion. That was very complex music, and the trio record I made before that, Day Trip, had all kinds of wacky, hard stuff. Before that was The Way Up, an hour-long piece of music. So the past few years were a pretty dense period for me in terms of writing. At various sound checks I’d whip out a version of this or that tune, and people would always say, “You should do a record like that someday.” And so here we are. What’s It All About was done in a very similar way to One Quiet Night—in my apartment. One great thing about the modern world is that it’s pretty easy to do 24-bit, 96 kHz recordings with a couple good mics.
The way your baritone is strung, you play the melodies of these songs mostly on the middle strings of the guitar. That must have required making a conceptual switch in your mind.
It’s funny how this [instrument] works. It’s a little bit like a ukulele or a five-string banjo in that there are high notes near the bottom of the range. And then middle-range stuff is up at the top. I tend to think of the baritone really more like three parts of a string quartet. You’ve got the violin on the middle two strings, the viola or the upper part of the cello is on the top two strings, and then you’ve got the cello on the bottom two strings. In my mind, I think of it as playing three parallel, two-stringed instruments.
The open strings are really essential for bridging the somewhat awkward leaps that are required to make the music happen. That’s been fun to explore because we all know that on a conventional six-string, the high E and B strings present opportunities in terms of orchestration. If you have the E string open and you move a whole bunch of notes around underneath it, you can get that really cool guitaristic effect that we all love. With the baritone, there are four high notes that can kind of ring over other things. That opens up a whole lot of possibilities. You can get a certain family of voicings that you just could never get on a conventional guitar. You can combine those with a super-juicy low end that gives you a bass function—a weight that does not exist on a conventional guitar except in a small range from the low G down to the low E. The baritone offers an expanded set of possibilities along with huge limitations. It’s a funny mix of things.....
(continua a leggere l'intervista sul sito originario)

Ecco il video di The Sound Of Silence tratto dall'album What’s It All About:

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