Usually, when Pat Metheny writes music for an album, he documents a current performing unit. But for "Secret Story," his recent Geffen release, the popular guitarist ended up documenting his life.
Metheny's album follows the shape of a love affair that ended last year. "You meet someone, get to know them, the relationship changes, grows, then it ends. That's what this record does. I didn't realize that was what I was doing until I was halfway through the writing," said Metheny, who appears with a nine-piece band Thursday and next Friday at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.
The relationship was reaching its denouement when Metheny recorded the album last fall and winter. This emotional situation resulted in some undiluted playing, Metheny said.
"Often I'll write a tune and then try to remember the feeling behind it when I record it," he said. "This time, there was no simulation necessary. It was happening then. The record is a very accurate picture of what I was feeling like at the moment."
Though the album features a large cast--including keyboardist Lyle Mays, bassists Charlie Haden and Steve Rodby and the London Orchestra, conducted by Jeremy Lubbock--Metheny calls it his "most personal and intimate project."
The guitarist--who plays everything from electric guitar and guitar synthesizer to acoustic piano on the album--said "Secret Story" is the "culmination of everything I've done up until now, though it doesn't deal with straight-ahead jazz at all. Usually, I'm quick to define my work as jazz, but I'm not sure I would with this one. But it includes some of my best jazz- inspired work."
Metheny also said that the release is the first album with which he's completely satisfied. "I can stand behind this 100% and say, 'Yeah. . . .' "
Rim Shots: Saxophonists Pat Britt and Wilbur Brown, whose loose Sunday evening affairs at the Cat and Fiddle Pub in Hollywood have resulted in some rousing straight-ahead sounds, celebrate their seventh anniversary at the establishment on Sunday. Several guest stars, among them guitarist Phil Upchurch and trumpeter Jerry Rusch, will assist the hornmen and their rhythm team--Art Hillery on piano, Pat Senatore on bass and Clarence Johnston on drums--in the 7-11 p.m. fete.
New works by Dave Grusin and Milcho Leviev and performances by Eddie Daniels, Ernie Watts, Leviev and others will highlight the Los Angeles Symphonic Jazz Orchestra's 14th annual Musicale, a benefit for the orchestra. The affair, proceeds of which go for new orchestral commissions and to offset costs of the orchestra's first album, is being held Sunday, 5 p.m., in Studio 36, CBS Television City, 7716 Beverly Blvd. Information and tickets: (310) 652-8528.
Mayor Tom Bradley has declared today as "Father Tom Vaughn Day," honoring the former Episcopalian cleric who has been a jazz pianist for 40 years. Though Vaughn is not performing this evening, drummer Wally Stryk's trio will play a tribute to Vaughn tonight at Lunaria in West Los Angeles.
Saxophonist Nino Tempo, trumpeter Conte Candoli and trombonist Bill Watrous will play a benefit Saturday, 2 p.m., for the Ojai Festivals, one of the longest-standing musical events in the United States. The benefit is being held in Ojai at the Pratt mansion, a home designed by famed architects Greene and Greene. Information: (805) 646-2094.
Critic's Choice: Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, though he's perhaps received his greatest renown as a funk-jazz proponent, has long been an estimable straight-ahead stylist. His recent "More Than a Mood" release on Musicmasters highlights this aspect of his work, and Turrentine will no doubt offer some similar material during his performances tonight and Saturday at Birdland West in Long Beach.