Six strings and no soul: Pat Metheny in action

As a guitarist, I’ve always endured a pretty love-hate relationship with Pat Metheny. Digging around the vaults I found this review, commissioned earlier this year by a national newspaper but never published, it still holds pretty true… Fusion guitar wizard Pat Metheny has left both jazz and pop fans scratching their heads for decades. A phenomenal player capable of making your average guitarist weep, he has been generally content to churn out pleasant, hummable records which are often accused of underselling his talents. His blatant commercialism means Metheny attracts a diverse mix of hardcore jazzers, guitar geeks and middle-aged soft … Continue reading Six strings and no soul: Pat Metheny in action

Good Vibrations: Gary Burton at the London Jazz Festival

Gary Burton Quartet and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra – Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (November 17, 2010) Like any well-prepared host, vibes maestro Gary Burton brought two courses to the table. The appetiser was a small group set. Introduced pointedly as a “new quartet”, this freshly-prepared line up gigged for the first time just months ago. Opening with standard Afro Blue, Burton’s trademark four-pronged approach lent the deliciously relaxed set a fairground-like charm, tempered by guitarist Julian Lage’s impassioned attack. Standing where Pat Metheny once did, Lage’s remarkable solo work saw him repeating short, sharp phrases with fiery intensity. A … Continue reading Good Vibrations: Gary Burton at the London Jazz Festival

Blogging Bishops and Church Crusaders

Christianity always gets a good old boost around this time of year – kids dress as Joseph and Mary and craft Christingales, festive cards shower our letterboxes bearing pictures of Jesus on the cross, and most dusty old churches find themselves packed out for one-night-only Midnight Mass. Fitting, then, that I’ve seen a lot of Christianity in the last few days – interviewing two high-ranking Anglican figures and polishing off a novel about a vicar. Yesterday I interviewed – for work, I add – the Bishop of Croydon, a pretty controversial figure who was blasted by the national press last … Continue reading Blogging Bishops and Church Crusaders

Gods and Monsters: Gary Lucas’ journey from Jeff Buckley to Dracula

As guitar maverick Gary Lucas prepares to perform a live movie soundtrack at the Glasgow Film Festival, he opens up to Rob Garratt about his love of horror – and his relationship with iconic singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley. The first thing I noticed about Gary Lucas, as he bustled through the door into our meeting room – early – was the sheer amount of stuff he was carrying. Clutching a guitar case large enough for a cello, dragging an oversized suitcase and held upright by a ragged sports satchel, the pork pie hat atop his head completed the picture of an … Continue reading Gods and Monsters: Gary Lucas’ journey from Jeff Buckley to Dracula