we welcomed Pat Metheny back to Louisville at the Brown Theater tonight, after not being able to catch him for quite some years. As always, fantastic performer and amazing musician. What was a treat for me personally, was being able to catch him with two outstanding musicians next to him - Christian McBride on Bass and Antonio Sanchez on Drums.
Metheny took stage, solo and acoustic at about 7:40pm and fixed our ears with gentle persuasion of dissonance and slow, climatic builds. The sound was superb, the audience hushed, anticipating every note, letting the nuances be felt and heard. He started the evening mellow and on the third acoustic number - played an interesting, sitar/ guitar combo acoustic thing that had all pitches ringing and sounds saturating the theater.
After the first three selections, Christian McBride and Antonio Sanchez joined him onstage and Metheny strapped on his electric. Full tilt jazz ensued with the trio and the game was on. This was my first experience with Christian McBride and I have been anxiously awaiting a chance to see/ hear him ... being in KY isn't the *prime* place to catch such top notch jazz musicians. The trio performed effortlessly, reading each other well and passionately pouring their collective minds into the evening. I'm not familiar with song titles, but suffice it to say ... each musician interpreted the pieces with emotion and dedication to the moment. Christian McBride, on bass, was truly outstanding - the way he can work an upright is nothing but to sit back and be in awe at. He had me transfixed for most of the night. Antonio Sanchez snapped and popped, jazz drum style, with the best of them and I was dutifully impressed with the rhythm both him and McBride were able to produce. Wonderful, masterful, stellar jazz from the masters.
Towards the end of the evening, Metheny did "duets" with first him and Antonio Sanchez that really showcased each others abilities, but really high-lighted Sanchez's ability to cut and paste beats like it was born to be. Next, was Metheny and McBride which exemplified why each of them are considered "pro" in their own right and gave me further reason to gush over the bass that filled the room. McBride showcased his "bowing" technique that had my jaw on the floor - it was incredible. It's quite simply amazing to watch, witness and hear what these guys are doing. Afterwards, all three met on stage to close out the night on a high note and leave the audience screaming, literally, for more. Pretty rare for a jazz crowd, but the boys had lit the fire and we weren't going to let them get away too soon. They came out for a nice blues/ funk/ jazz encore that had McBride pick up the electric bass (1st all night) and grooved us hard while incorporating those Metheny-esque runs and peaks that are trade-mark Metheny. Freakin' awesome stuff.
There wasn't a "scene" to get into and the audience was respectful without holding back their enthusiasm for what was happening. It was a really nice experience to be surrounded by people that were actually there for the "music" and were less distracted by the doldrums of everyday life. No talking, no phones ... it was almost surreal ... I've almost gotten so used to the "casual factor" at concerts that I've almost forgotten what it's like if everyone is just "listening". Jazz crowds are good people. The music intense. It's not for everyone, but if you really like *sound, energy, music* this is a must-see act. All three musicians are top-notch and it's just such a treat to see them communicate with each othe on stage, in front of you. They left stage about 9:50pm - no set break and 1 encore. A really good time and it has me looking forward to the next >>
Hey, really good review!
This trio is outstanding, as is virtually everything that Pat touches will be, but when he's playing with someone like McBride he gets ouside his usual places and can really show what a TRUE monster he still is.
I also liked your comments on the difference between a jazz crowd and a rock crowd. There are virtues to both groups, but I go to many jazz shows and it is amazing to sit in a room full of people and hear only "heavy air" from the audience; the feeling of being "tuned in" is palpable. (Although there is something great about being in a room full of maniacs where someone might just jump off a balconey too!)
It's great you got to see such a top-tier group; they're coming to the Bay Area soon for a week of shows at the new club in SF and I will be there for at least two.