Sunday, November 04, 2007


“If you do not expose yourself to culture, eventually culture will expose itself to you.” - Mr. Debonair

While She Who Must Be Obeyed and I are not exactly Patrons of the Fine Arts, we do like to enjoy the occasional Cultural Activity.

I’ve flown to Boston on two separate occasions in order to take Elder Daughter to the opera. Really. Modern opera, in both cases, the first time being a performance of the Philip Glass masterpiece Akhnaten in early 2001, the second being John Adams’s Nixon in China three years later. I’ve seen a few classical opera performances, and they’re OK, but I’ll take Philip Glass any old day.

Here in Atlanta, the Missus and I take advantage of the excellent offerings presented at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts. There are other venues for concerts, but we find ourselves at the Ferst more often than not.

You could say it’s our Ferst Choice...but that would be stupid.

So far this year at the Ferst we’ve seen the comedic stylings of Josh Blue, heard the jazz improvisations of Chck Corea and Béla Fleck, and stomped to the big-band swing sound of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And last night we saw the Pat Metheny Trio.

Pat Metheny has been a name to reckon with on the jazz scene since the mid-1970’s, when his unique guitar sound became a breakout sensation. Last night he was joined on stage by Christian McBride on bass and Antonio Sanchez on percussion.

Metheny started off the evening using the baritone guitar. The low-register notes that came out of that instrument were astonishing, perfectly complementing the upper-register melody.

Then, out came a jaw-droppingly bizarre instrument: the 42-string Pikasso I guitar. It looked like a prop from a science fiction movie (“The Most Popular Guitar on Rigel 5!”), but Metheny knew how to make it sing.

Pikasso I Guitar
This Pikasso I guitar makes John McLaughlin’s double-neck guitar look like Tiny Tim’s ukulele. You are not looking at a PhotoShop. This is real.

Most of the evening he stuck to his standard, a hollow-body six-string electric guitar. There is a characteristic “Pat Metheny Sound” that I associate with that guitar. I can’t describe it, but I know it when I hear it...kinda like Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of obscenity. But when he whipped out his Roland GR300 Guitar Synthesizer and started wailing away on it, I knew I was hearing something very different. A guitar that sounds like a horn? Who knew?

One thing struck me, though. Metheny almost always had a smile on his face, the smile of someone who enjoys what he is doing. But that face, framed by a boyish mop of shaggy hair, looked strangely familiar. Where had I seen it before?

And then I figured it out. Pat Metheny is really a member of a set of triplets, siblings separated at birth under Mysterious Circumstances.

Here’s the proof:

Separated at Birth?
Separated at Birth?

What do you think? And can you name his two Mystery Siblings?

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