Pat Metheny plays Pikasso, and Picasso, at the Flynn

BURLINGTON Pikasso briefly took the Flynn Center stage on October 19. After playing a couple of mellow acoustic guitar solos (Make Peace and Unrequited), Pat Metheny brought out his famous Pikasso, an instrument named after the legendary Spanish painter because of its Cubist appearance, and treated the enthusiastic crowd to a beautiful oriental-flavored tune entitled The Sound of Water. The songs title may be taken from a Bash Japanese haiku: At the ancient pond/A frog jumps in and creates/The sound of water. Constructed especially for Metheny by Toronto luthier Linda Manzer, Pikasso is a 42-string, four-necked stringed instrument that combines a six-string guitar, lute, oud, bass, and zither. Manzer jokes that a friend calls the Pikasso the Swiss Army guitar. When he plays it, Metheny becomes a string quintet. Trading in his Pikasso for a more mundane electric guitar, Metheny then welcomed acclaimed bassist Christian McBride and internationally celebrated drummer Antonio Sanchez to the stage. Although the Trios first piece was So May It Secretly Begin, their musical symmetry is no secret at all. In an interview with Guitar Player magazine, Metheny described a guitar trio as a blank slate. Like Pablo Picasso with a canvas, Metheny used his current Trio to paint brilliant sound pictures ranging from the bluesy What Not to lovely lyrical ballads like Find Me In Your Dreams and Never Too Far Away. Ignoring stylistic boundaries, the Trio members complemented each other perfectly all night long. They have played hundreds of gigs together, and their first CD, Day Trip, will (finally) be released in January. The audience was obviously teeming with Metheniacs, some of whom have been attending Methenys Burlington concerts since the old Hunts days, decades ago. Metheny, McBride, and Sanchez (who seem to really relish playing together) rewarded them all with intensely melodic improvisations and perfectly executed rhythms. Although much of the nights music was jazz-oriented, the Trio closed with an exciting hard-driving rock encore that shook the Flynn and brought the appreciative crowd to its feet. YouTube.com is loaded with past and present Metheny music, including Pikasso pieces and current Trio tunes. Some of the videos focus upclose on Methenys fantastic fingerworkyou can see the brushwork-like creation of the compositions. Two other Guitar Gods (Flynn Artistic Director Arnie Malinas reverent term) will come to the Flynn in early 2008. British folk-rock legend Richard Thompson and his 1,000 years of Popular Music will be there on Jan. 25 at 8 p.m. ($44/$37). Then Bill Frisell will paint Musical Portraits From Heber Springs [Arkansas] on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. ($38/$31). Prepare for some more Picasso-like guitar performances right now by contacting the Flynn Box Office, 153 Main St, Burlington, 802-863-5966, www.flynntix.org .

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment