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Pat Metheny - New Chautauqua CD (album) cover

NEW CHAUTAUQUA

Pat Metheny

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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5 stars I'm surprised that this album has not yet been reviewed here. This may be the finest solo recording of the earlier part of Pat's distinguished career. Every song is wonderful and expressive. All the songs are quiet, soothing and contemplative, yet each song has a bright and inventive hook that lures in and engages the listener in almost spellbinding fashion. Pat plays not only picks with his acoustic guitar, but overdubs extensively with acoustic rhythms and subdued electric bass, and does this all with a flawless technical mastery of instruments, integrated into beautiful arrangements.

New Chautauqua had a fresh sound when it was new, and I find that it still retains this freshness; all these years later, I still enjoy returning to this again. It's like putting on those old slippers, it still fits snugly and comfortably every time. One of the few recordings that I liked so much from the vinyl and cassette era that I bought it again on CD, to replace my older worn copies. My only criticism is that it ends too soon (38+ minutes); I could listen to this music for hours. I've tried to rate this 4 stars, to avoid over-inflating my ratings average, but I just can't; it is truly an indispensable recording.

By the way, the word Chautauqua, of American Indian origin, came to be associated with a movement that began in the 1870s on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in western New York state. It was a community gathering of several days that provided lectures on a wide variety of subjects and entertainment such as music, plays and storytelling, with the intent of providing "education and uplift". Many notable celebrities participated over the years, bringing in thousands of people to watch and listen. The Chautauqua became an integral part of the character of communities in America for many years.

Pat chose an appropriate title for this work.

Peace.

Report this review (#80726)
Posted Thursday, June 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 7/10

"New Chautauqua" is one of Metheny's most solitary and melancholy albums.

Pat Metheny is a man who loves to travel. We can say this not only because he does about a billion concerts every year, but his main themes in his music are about the road, exploring the urban world, but also more isolated places. I feel that with "New Chautauqua" Metheny is in one of these places. This LP is once again a nice and enjoyable gem of Jazz music, something to not underrate and to listen to with care.

As someone who listened to Pat Metheny should know, this music is completely guitar based, whether it's electric or acoustic. As a matter of fact, they barely are any other instruments besides the acoustic and electric guitar. It is indeed a solitaire album, full of melancholy and sadness. But there is also joy and hope, as well as haunting beauty. An album with many faces, played basically with only one instrument, which is amazing to me. The production of the album is also very enchanting and gives the music that magical touch it needs. Many have called this Fusion, but I don't see why honestly, it is definitely not in the traditional sense of the genre, because this music in the end of the day is pretty minimalistic, and, even though virtuous, not so complex and just very far away from bands like Return Of Forever, or even Al Dimeola.

Some very delightful and pleasure-filled moments are here, the best one being the ten minute "Falling Star", in my opinion the "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" of the artist. A crushingly beautiful guitar soaked in reverb and chorus, it just makes it so haunting sounding, from beginning to end. For a lighter mood, there is the joyful title track, that also opens the album. The exotic "Sueno Con Mexico" has some Latin influences as the title implies, and "Hermitage" a delicate little song that often is forgotten by fans of Metheny.

"New Chautauqua" is a very delightful experience, just like many of Pat's albums. I would call it an essential release for whoever loves the work of this amazingly talented and very rightfully praised man.

Report this review (#549305)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Review Permalink

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