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--- Sep 09 1999 Go to category
Subject: bolero and european tastes
Category: General Questions
From: Lauren Hermann (usa)

Hi, Pat! Happy birthday (one day late)! I have 2 questions but first let me say that your music takes me to another plane of consciousness (and I am one of those people who hates almost everything). If there is a heaven, they play your music there. You are God! Now, here are my 2 questions:

1. I can’t help but see parallels between “The Truth Will Always be” from your Secret Story CD and Ravel’s Bolero. Did the latter have any influence on your composition of that piece of music? (By the way, if I could only listen to one CD for the rest of my life, Secret Story would be the one.) 2. Is it my imagination or are you far more well-known and appreciated in Europe than in the US? I ask this because I lived in France 5 years ago and EVERYONE to whom I mentioned your name knew and loved your music. Meanwhile here in the US when I ask people if they like Pat Metheny most people say they never heard of you. I am of the opinion that the Europeans in general have more sophisticated tastes in music than we do. I realize of course that this is a highly subjective statement, but it certainly explains the proliferation of those insipid “smooth jazz” (ie soft rock) stations we have.

Pat’s Answer:

hi lauren,

thanks for your note. the similarity with the ravel piece would be a long, gradual dynamic ramp (crescendo) up over a 10 minute or so period - a form that is not often used. other than that that - no, there isn't really any connection. (but i love ravel's music so much...)

it's true - we are way more known and appreciated (and understood i would say) in europe (and japan) than here in the u.s. this has gotten more and more apparent over the past 10 years or so - during the 70's and the 80's there was a lot more jazz awareness here in the states than there is now. it seems like now in america, jazz is something that people see in some boring "pbs" kind of way, (it's true most of the jazz they present is boring to the point that *i* can't even watch it myself) or it is kenny g or that kind of music with that aesthetic - and it's true - i have done my best to stay as far away from either of those areas as possible over the past 10 years or so - probably making our thing less intersected with the culture at large here; for better or worse. it's ok though - in europe our thing is actually getting stronger and i hope that their support will allow us the funds to continue our research into our the zone of music that we are interested in working in. it does seem that we will be doing fewer and fewer gigs here in the u.s - but there is a long tradition of that in the jazz world anyway. (jazz guys who only work overseas while living here).

i'm glad you like secret story.

best from pat m.