What’s it All About
Using a specially strung baritone guitar (with both the lower strings common to the instrument and some higher strings replacing octaves to give things a special shimmer), What’s it All About, Pat Metheny’s latest solo outing for the Nonesuch, imprint inhabits an unusual and evocative sound world.
The material presented is something of a departure as well: for the first time in his recording career, Metheny doesn’t include one of his own compositions on a release. Instead, he explores ten “new standards:” songs from the popular canon, many from the sixties and seventies. Some are iconic, like “The Girl from Ipanema,” which is given an ambling, gauzily ruminative rendition. Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” receives a beautifully hued, impeccably voiced, and eloquently paced performance. Others like, “Betcha’ By Golly Wow” might not be as familiar to listeners, but they make for equally compelling listening.
In today’s record business, glitz and glamor and high volume too often rule the roost. By contrast, this is a gentle and unassuming CD, which reveals its riches with successive hearings.