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What's It All About


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Audio CD, June 14, 2011
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The year 2013 has been a banner one for Pat Metheny. After being awarded his 20th Grammy, for Unity Band, and the release of his critically acclaimed recording of Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels, Vol. 20, Metheny received word that the readers of DownBeat magazine had voted to induct him into its Hall of Fame. Not only is Metheny the youngest member, but he is also only the fourth jazz ... Read more in Amazon's Pat Metheny Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B004ZN8MH6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,004 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Sound of Silence (Paul Simon)
2. Cherish (Terry Kirkman)
3. Alfie (Burt Bacharach & Hal David)
4. Pipeline (Bob Spickard & Brian Carman)
5. Garota de Ipanema (Antonio Carlos Jobim & Vinicius de Moraes)
6. Rainy Days and Mondays (Roger S. Nichols & Paul H. Williams)
7. That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be (Carly Simon & Jacob Brackman)
8. Slow Hot Wind (Henry Mancini & Normal Gimbel)
9. Betcha by Golly, Wow (Thomas Bell & Linda Creed)
10. And I Love Her (John Lennon & Paul McCartney)

Editorial Reviews

Nonesuch Records releases What's It All About - a solo acoustic album from guitarist and composer Pat Metheny - on June 14, 2011. After nearly 40 recordings under his name, this marks the first time there is not a single Metheny composition represented. Rather, What's It All About comprises 10 classic songs, some very well known, that hold personal meanings for the guitarist.

Following the Grammy winning 2001 solo acoustic record One Quiet Night, Metheny began regularly playing the specially tuned baritone guitar he used on that album in the breaks between sound check and the show when he was on the road. "Almost every day as I worked through one well-known tune or another, various visitors or local crew people would come up to me and ask which record it was on, and I would have to say that I had never made a record like that," Metheny says. "And over the years, I have had it in the back of my mind that I should do an album of some of those tunes at some point".

As with One Quiet Night, Metheny recorded the songs on What's It All About late at night, in his New York City home over a short period of time. In selecting which ones to put to tape, Metheny says: "I wanted to record some of the music that was on my radar before I ever wrote a note of my own, or in a few cases, even before I played an instrument. I was born in 1954 and all of these songs were in the Top 40 during my childhood and early teen years. It was a period when harmony and melody were still important and viable elements in popular music. Every one of these tunes has something going on that is just hip on a musical level, no matter how you cut it. They have all stuck with me over the years".

Most of the record was made using the acoustic baritone guitar, with three exceptions: Paul Simon's "The Sound of Silence" is played on a 42-string custom made "Pikasso" guitar, Bob Spickard and Brian Carman's "Pipeline" is played on a six-string, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "And I Love Her" is played on a nylon string guitar.

Customer Reviews

Pat Metheny is one of my favorite guitarists.
rgr
Considering the first two good tracks and the lack of imagination after that I'll rate (What's it all about) 2 stars.
Blue note
He explains his music with a Highly Professional manner.
Alain J. Deflandre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2011
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Four and a half IMPRESSIVE Stars!! On his latest solo guitar CD, legendary multiple Grammy Award-winning composer, guitarist, and leader Pat Metheny takes a break from his ground-breaking groups to explore some of his favorite songs from his early years of growing up and absorbing the popular music of the day. These songs have been on his "radar" for decades and are a natural follow-on to the success of his Grammy Award-winning first solo CD One Quiet Night. Originally all vocals, with two exceptions, they come from the likes of Paul Simon, The Beatles, Burt Bacharach, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Thelonious Monk. All songs were recorded by Pat, late at night, after extensive 'woodshedding', using the uniquely tuned baritone guitar and 3 other acoustic guitars with different sonic traits. No overdubbing. He takes these songs primarily on an introspective trip in order to re-examine these major and minor iconic classics. The 'best of the best' begin with the Simon and Garfunkel hit "The Sound of Silence": he gives it a dense shimmering sound with an almost Japanese koto effect from his 42 string guitar, beautifully building momentum thru the silences. "Garota de Ipanema" (The Girl from Ipanema) is richly dark and bluesy as Pat's baritone guitar gives fresh twists of the main theme and the bridge, giving it a deep 'saudade' feeling that can come over one late at night. The Chantays' "Pipeline" was a huge surfing hit when Pat was around 8 years old, and he changes it from the original 'cowabunga'-style to a great 'flamenco'-style sound. Pat makes "Betcha by Golly, Wow" live up to its title. The Sergio Mendes/Lani Hall classic "Slow Hot Wind" is given some tasty tempo and improv twists.Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Frank Smith on June 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This is a solo baritone acoustic guitar set by Pat Metheny following the stellar One Quiet Night disc. Metheny explains in the liner notes about the guitar used and the tuning: "This is a straight solo baritone guitar record (except instrument changes as noted); edits but no overdubs. And as in the previous solo baritone guitar record: One Quiet Night, the basic tuning used throughout the recording is A D G C E A. The relative intervallic relationship of the strings is the same as a conventional guitar tuned down a fifth. However, as in a "Nashville" tuning, the 3rd and 4th strings are retrung and tuned an octave higher than usual. In the case of this tuning, the 5th and 6th strings are quite low in pitch..." This explanation will give you a pretty good idea of the guitar sound on What's It All About. The songs are all great ones from the popular song-book. The set leads off with a wonderful rendition of Paul Simon's The Sound of Silence and concludes with Lennon's and McCartney's And I Love Her. There are ten tracks in all, with songs by the likes of Burt Bacharach, Terry Kirkman, Carly Simon, and Henry Mancini. Recorded in New York by Metheny, Pete Karm and David Oakes and produced by Metheny, What's It All About is a terrific sounding album, beautifully played. I like that Metheny has arrived at a point in his career as a musician where he can appreciate the spaces between the notes as much as the notes themselves. I don't like this recording quite as much as One Quiet Night, as I find the songs a bit more interesting and challenging on the previous disc. However, if you appreciate solo acoustic guitar music, get this album.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C. Beall on August 23, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is Pat's follow up to One Quiet Night he recorded about 10 years ago. It's been one of my favourite relaxation CD's ever since. Now he's released a set of sweet acoustic instrumental covers of some familiar and unfamiliar tunes that is equally great for a relaxed evening at home or to accompany a slow yoga practice.In this frantic world it's nice that there's quality music like this to relax with.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Bonenfant on September 13, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I will say very little, but what stands out most in my mind about this album is that EVERY tune, no matter who wrote it or when they wrote it, sounds like a Pat Metheny composition. His approach is so unique, and there is never any doubt as to who is playing. Just the tone of the instrument (regardless of the specific guitar employed) announces who the player is.

I would think that this would be the goal of any jazz musician: taking any tune and turning it into a personal statement. Metheny is successful on so many levels with this album.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David Pena on June 15, 2011
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Whats it all about- a fantastic acoustic journey through time every song sings so sweetly on the acoustic sounds of silence on the pikasso pats multi string custom guitar almost as if he had a harp player along for the ride but its just pat having fun, the depth of the entire album just amazing. I was just so pleased with the entire album. Nice to cast away time and just breathe. Another baritone acoustic guitar album with works by other artists that serves the songs and artists that originally did them well...they would be pleased as was myself, what a ride!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan Gruskoff on October 30, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This LP (yes I play Vinyl) has a stellar sound and uniquely full tone Metheny gets from his guitar(s). I particularly love the expressive arrangement of Pop songs that we have heard before, here in a most inventive way.

I play this LP for friends to let them hear what actual music is supposed to sound like.
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Outrageously expensive.
If the quality translated to price you could not afford it.
Jul 20, 2011 by Reg Scarbrough |  See all 3 posts
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