Hello Folks:

I am honored to debut here a video we've made with 19-Grammy Winner Pat Metheny.

I'm going to tell you the story of our work together over the past few years.

In order to do that, I'm going to close this discussion thread to comments so that I can lay out the story and edit it over the coming days.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the short video now.

Pat Metheny On Tour with the Bose L1 VIDEO

I've set up a separate discussion thread where you can comment and ask questions about the video and the work.

Discussion Area for Pat Metheny Bose L1 Project

I greatly look forward to that discussion.

With best regards,

Ken Jacob
Research and Development

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Original Post
This story begins at the 2006 Big Sur Users Conference.

We were blessed with a wonderful "house" drummer by the name of Neal Stone (at the time he went by the name of Aaron Stone).

Everybody fell in love with Neal's playing -- he was so sensitive to what other players were doing.

(You can see him here with Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band during one of the jams.)

He also had a wonderfully sparse, playful style that used lots of "hand" percussion.

It was several years later that Neal contacted me after he had attended a Pat Metheny concert in his home town.

More on that later...
Neal filled Pat in on his experiences with the L1 system, and that's the "frantic email" Pat refers to in the video.

We set up a demonstration for Pat at David Gage Stringed Instruments in New York City.

David is the owner of one of the most incredible music shops in the world -- ground zero for bass and cello. You can read a discussion thread on this forum of a fascinating visit to David Gage Stringed Instruments. We worked together on a number of ToneMatch presets for his pickup systems for bass.

Here's a shot of the room on the second floor where the demonstration and conversation took place. (David Gage is pictured).

I showed Pat the unique sound radiating properties of the L1 Model II by playing a solo sax track (the recently deceased monster player Michael Brecker) while Pat stood at the farthest end of the room from the L1, and then slowly approach the speaker until his ear touched the grill of the L1 system.

After that, Pat pretty much took the reins. He asked to have his hollow body jazz guitar plugged directly into the line input on the Model II power stand. We had a T1 with us of course, and I told him briefly about it, but he said he wanted to hear the speaker and nothing else.

After that, the conversation turned to matters of when, not if.
At the time, Pat mentioned to me something about a solo project, but without details. We had a robust conversation about "mixing in the air, not in the wire" -- a theme we were to come back to again and again -- and which you'll hear him talk about in the video.

It's funny, but the impression I got from that first conversation about what I eventually learned was the Orchestrion Project, was wrong. I thought he wanted to create many channels from his guitar and have each sound come from a different speaker. (This was only partially correct.) I wrote back to him a few weeks later to describe a "jazz guitar pipe organ" but obviously he was way, way, past that.
The first place L1 systems began to show up outside the rehearsal space was with the Pat Metheny Trio, with Antonio Sanchez and Christian McBride.

Pat used two L1 Model II systems for his acoustic guitars, and Christian McBride used a double-bass Model II system for his upright. All the trio gigs were configured this way.
Last year, Christian McBride continued to use the L1 Model II with at T1 Tonematch audio engine for his work with the Five Peace Band, featuring Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade.

I was very lucky to catch their show at Lincoln Center in New York. For someone who "came of age" with Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, this was one of the greatest nights of music for me.
After the trio stopped touring, the Orchestrion Project started to heat up. I went to New York to meet with Pat and get an early demo of this extraordinary musical project. We were in his rehearsal studio which was packed with robotically-driven musical instruments.

When I heard the sound all coming from different directions my jaw literally dropped. The sonic complexity was astounding, but even more astounding was that you could hear everything. Right then and there, I pledged to everything I could to help get that sound on stage and eventually, out to the audience. I was completely and utterly blown away by what he was doing.

And that was before he added many of the instruments to the Orchestrion.
In January of this year, we went to Brooklyn where Pat was rehearsing in advance of the historic Orchestrion Tour.

It is impossible to describe the immensity of this artistic and technical undertaking. It was and is simply breathtaking.

It was a bitterly cold winter morning and we were there to shoot an interview before the tour. (You can watch a short YouTube Video of us waiting outside the church freezing our derriere.)

It was early -- very early by musicians' time -- and there was Pat ambling up the street in a wool overcoat. He let us into the unused church he was renting to rehearse, took off his coat, strapped on his guitar, pushed a single button, and unleashed the entire Orchestrion. We all just stood there with our tongues hanging out of our mouths in amazement. It was an extraordinary experience.
A few short days after this shot was taken, they were off to France for the start of the Orchestrion Tour.

After probably 40 shows in Europe and about an equal number in North America, we finally had a chance to catch up with Pat and David when the tour came to Boston (where we're based) with just two shows in New York City left to finish the tour.

More on that part of the story later...
It was amazing to see how fast David Oakes and the relatively small crew were able to load in and get set up. You can hear Pat and David talk about this a little in the video.

David was relaxed enough during setup to be able to do the first interview.
One of the things I loved about the interview was Pat's repeatedly returning to the theme of complexity and how you can't preserve it through one or two speakers.

He coined a phrase that he used to describe the direction he was taking. He called it infinity.1 To me this captures it all.

Being an engineer, the way I put this is slightly different: Mix in the air, not in the wire to describe the same thing.
I would now like to make a personal statement about the music.

After all, in the end, it is about the music. Technology, including the L1 systems, must serve the artist, so that the outcome matches their intent.

I believe this is a case of coming very close to that ideal.

Nothing could give me as much pleasure.
Still, in all of this, these engagements were part of my work. And that means an intense involvement of a big part of my mind, and spirit, but by no means all of it.

I think many of you can relate to the idea that when you are working you can not truly relax and enjoy the final product the way a paying customer can.

Months before I knew about the Boston interview, my 15-year old son -- who studies coincidentally with a great piano player and teacher that was in Pat's band when Pat lived in Boston -- was saying how much he wanted to see the Orchestrion Project.

For his birthday I surprised him with tickets to the last show on the tour, the second of two nights at the historic Town Hall in New York City. I deliberately purchased the tickets instead of asking for comps because I wanted this night to NOT be work. I wanted it to be something special for my son and me -- a night perhaps to remember.

Our seats were in the front part of the balcony (my favorite spot) and in Town Hall, the balcony entrances are near the stage on either side, if you can picture that. As you walk around the horseshoe-shaped concourse on the balcony level, you are treated to displays of programs going back some 75 years (at least) and include an astounding array of the most famous musicians ever to walk the face of the earth: Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Bessie Smith, Pavarotti, Vladimir Horowitz, Paul Robeson, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, and on and on and on and on.

My son and I were admiring these historic programs (OH! Look at this one! Here's Billie Holiday! etc. etc.) and we reached the entrance to the balcony.

There was another door there, propped open and leading to some stairs, with an exit sign above it. I heard a rhythmic scratching sound that at first I couldn't identify. I moved closer and I realized it was the sound of an electric guitar with no amplification. And then I heard the unmistakable phrasing and rhythmic signature of Pat Metheny.

I pulled my son gently to my side and whispered into his ear:

"He's getting ready for the performance."

I told him I thought it would be okay if he took a few quiet steps into the stairwell so he could hear better. Metheny was down half a flight and just around the corner of the hallway that must serve the dressing rooms.

I stepped back into the close and holy darkness...

(1)

And took this picture.


(1) 'close and holy darkness' from Dylan Thomas's Child's Christmas in Wales
Town Hall was packed. There was not one open seat. The air was electric.

You can imagine what kind of an audience turned out for an event like this. You must put yourself into the history of jazz in this great city to fully appreciate the magnitude of an event like this.

Metheny burned.

He was incendiary.

There were times when the audience became unhinged -- when they could no longer contain their emotions -- when we burst out of and through the seams that separate us.

And Metheny just seemed to feed off of that energy and drive higher and higher.

It was godly.

When human kind finally succeeds in understanding and ultimately measuring and then instrumenting the energy field that occurs between a live artist and his or her audience, I believe a performance like this will register in the absolute highest echelon of art.

And thus there in New York City, On Saturday May 22, did a chapter close and a new one open.
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