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Pet Metheny, The Orchestrion Project (Nonesuch)

Obviously it must be different if you are actually jazz guitar maestro Pat Metheny and making all this noise happen all by yourself, but as a humble listener I have a bit of a problem with his Orchestrion project: I can't just listen to it without wanting to see it as well.

Metheny's one-man orchestra is a vast array of tuned and un-tuned percussion, including pianos, that is operated by solenoids and pneumatic and triggered by his guitar playing. It is, as the man explains eloquently on his website, a contemporary development of the player-pianos of old.

Having made a recording of a suite for the creation, 2010's Orchestrion, Metheny toured it before setting up camp in a Brooklyn church to make this double live disc, adding new improvisations to the original five pieces as well as new Orchestrion arrangements of other pieces from his back catalogue. That he is across the technology is beyond argument, and there are some beautiful lyrical pieces here, but there are also certain tropes, like the tinkling percussion intro, that wear thin over the duration. Will I return to it as eagerly as last year's more conventional Unity Band set? I doubt it.

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