Music » Critics' Picks

Pat Metheny

8 p.m. Saturday, May 8. The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, One University Drive at Natural Bridge Road on the campus of University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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According to legend, a young Pat Metheny struggled to find guitar picks thick enough to withstand his melodic demands. He subsequently learned to hold thin plectrums taut between his thumb, middle and index fingers and pluck his strings sideways. Thus was the birth of Metheny's aesthetic; since then, the guitarist has paved over these limitations to discover, expand and amplify his voice. This unrelenting quest has detoured from familiar genres such as jazz, rock and Americana to noise (the feedback-dominated Zero Tolerance For Silence), free improvisation (the Ornette Coleman collaboration Song X), minimalism (Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint) and new age (95% of Pat Metheny Group's discography). Currently, Metheny is touring behind Orchestrion, a solo work performed among programmed arrangements played live on pneumatically controlled acoustic instruments. It's the next logical step for a musician who has forged a career by ignoring logical steps.

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