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The Orchestrion Project
Artist: Pat Metheny
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Released: October 9, 2012
Reviewed: October 14, 2012

If you’re into easy listening music at all, then in all likelihood you are at least slightly aware of the incredible musical genius, Pat Metheny.  For almost forty years Metheny has thrilled fans and audiences around the world with his brilliant compositions and guitar virtuosity.  Those fans will be thrilled to know that Mr. Metheny has released Pat Metheny: The Orchestrion Project.

The Orchestrion Project was filmed by Grammy and Emmy Award winning directors Pierre & François Lamoureux at the former St Elias Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in November 2010. It features Pat Metheny on guitar performing The Orchestrion Suite as well as other tracks from across Metheny’s prolific career. Also included are four bonus tracks [on disc one of the DVD format] and over an hour of bonus material containing four special features (on disc two of the DVD format).

Based on a childhood fascination with his grandfather’s player piano, 19 time Grammy Award winner Pat Metheny, commissioned and built The Orchestrion, a mechanically controlled mini-orchestra capable of responding to his touch on the guitar. This innovative project brought about a completely unique approach to solo performance. The collaboration between this master guitarist and his wildest imagination has resulted in a fascinating and absolutely one of a kind musical experience.

The Orchestrion itself is an assemblage of specially designed acoustic instruments, all controlled by Metheny’s guitar. The full array includes several pianos, drum kits, marimbas, “guitar-bots,” dozens of percussion instruments and even cabinets of carefully tuned bottles. Metheny brings this contraption to life with five new pieces written specifically for the Orchestrion alongside compositions from past recordings to showcase the instruments as they are struck, plucked, and otherwise played via the technology of solenoid switches and pneumatics.

Imagine the money he saves in paying all those musicians while totally eliminating inter-band turmoil, egos and politics.  It makes the business geek inside of me giddy with excitement.

Shot over a two-day period in November 2010 at St. Elias Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, The Orchestrion Project showcases Metheny single-handedly operating this symphony of instruments in one illustrious treat for the senses. Boomerocity has already nearly worn out the review copy of The Orchestrio Project (okay, a slight exaggeration but you get the point).

Looking at the track listing, Metheny fans will know that they MUST have this performance as part of their private DVD collection – and just in time for the holidays. Imagine that.