By SAMUEL GRAHAM & SAM SUTHERLAND
...Weirdest moment of the last several weeks: the Persuasions, opening at the Greek Theater for Joni Mitchell, managed to throw in versions of the Cal Worthington car commercial and the Lowenbrau beer jingle during their sets (if the concessions people at the Greek don't sell Lowenbrau, they probably weren't too thrilled at the prospect of a free plug for another brand). The really strange part was the placement of the commercials: right between "Tom Dooley" and "The Lord's Prayer." You figure it out.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE - Speaking of both weirdness and Pat Metheny, a conversation with the guitarist during his visit here for the Greek Theatre dates with Mitchell yielded some surprising twists. Apart from confirming that the next Pat Metheny Group longplayer, "American Garage," is indeed arriving shortly, the ECM artist filled us in on his first visit to Japan as part of a package of touring label artists.
"It was sort of 'Young Americans on display,' " he said in summary, adding that while listeners there are indeed attentive and well-informed with respect to foreign artists, their reverence sometimes approaches the bizarre. "Over here, if you tell someone they sound just like another player, they'll be quick to say, 'No, I'm working on my own style.' Over there, musicians don't see that as an insult at all. I even got to meet the Japanese Pat Metheny."
Lest anyone think he's jumping to conclusions, Metheny notes his eastern counterpart not only plumbs the guitarist's style on exactly the same instruments, he's backed by a keyboard player adept at blending acoustic piano and Oberheim synthesizer (not unlike the Metheny Group's Lyle Mays), while the rhythm section models its coupling of fretless bass and kit equally carefully.
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