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March 07, 2005
I Agree with Richard Thompson

This is old news, from about five years ago, but what the heck... I haven't seen it summarized anywhere else.

Pat Metheny wrote about his opinion of soprano sax player Kenny G, including it in the Question and Answer section of the Pat Metheny Group web site.  Kenny G had recently released a recording of his playing spliced onto Louis Armstrong's classic "What a Wonderful World".  Metheny considered this to be a tasteless act, and explained why in a forceful and eloquent way.

Word of Metheny's criticism got out, the text was forwarded and passed around, and it become headline material.  I remember reading an article about it in a copy of Entertainment Weekly on a plane trip.  It makes the news when someone with a reputation for being humble, mellow, and generous lashes out.  It's a beautifully written and entertaining flame, but at the same time his message is truly important.

The entry was soon removed from the Pat Metheny web site.  Of course by then it copies has been stashed away and it is now available at a number of places, such as Jazz Guitar Online: Pat Metheny on Kenny G (including a follow-up posting), and Jazz Oasis: Pat Metheny on Kenny G.

[Later: Sigh, the jazzguitar.com site is no longer around.  You can view an archived version of it here: Archived Jazz Guitar Online: Pat Metheny on Kenny G.]

It's definitely worth the read.  (Go...)  (...if only to see the use of the term musical necrophilia.)

But the kicker is that Richard Thompson (probably best known as the guitarist with Fairport Convention) joined in by writing a song called "I Agree with Pat Metheny, Kenny's Talents are Too Teeny", which he plays at his concerts.

A recording of the song is here (mp3 format) on Richard Thompson's web site.

And here are the lyrics to read along with.  Note the cool references to the deatails of the Metheny commentary.  And the way the rhymes are so thoroughly tortured.

I Agree With Pat Metheny
Richard Thompson

I agree with Pat Metheny
Kenny's talents are too teeny
He deserves the crap he's going to get
'Overdubbed himself on Louis
What a musical chop suey
Raised his head above the parapet

Now Louis Armstrong was the king
He practically invented swing
Hero of the twentieth century
'Did duets with many a fella
"Fatha" Hines, Bing, Hoagy, Ella
Strange he never thought of Kenny G

A meeting of great minds, how nice
Like Einstein and Sporty Spice
Digitally fused in an abortion
Oh, Kenny fans will doubtless rave
While Satchmo turns inside his grave
Soprano man's bit off more than his portion

Brainless pentatonic riffs
Display our Kenny's arcane gifts
But we don't care, his charms are so beguiling
He does play sharp, but let's be fair
He has such lovely crinkly hair
We hardly notice, we're too busy smiling

How does he hold those notes so long?
He must be a genius. Wrong!
He just has the mindlessness to do it
He makes Britney sound like scat
If this is jazz I'll eat my hat
An idle threat, I'll never have to chew it

So next time you're in a rendezvous
And Kenny's sound comes wafting through
Don't just wince, eliminate the cause
Rip the tape right off the muzak
Pull the plug, or steal a fuse, Jack
The whole room will drown you in applause

Yes, Kenny G has gone too far
The gloves are off, it's time to spar
Grab your hunting rifle, strap your colt on
It's open season on our Ken
Yet I await the moment when
We lay off him and start on Michael Bolton

Oh, I agree with Pat Metheny
Kenny's talents are too teeny

(Reproduced without permission; I assume copyright lies with the author.)

Posted by DonTillman at March 7, 2005 12:39 AM

RIGHT ON,RIGHT ON,Richard! Posting from Bloomington,In.(I believe you've played here before?).This weekend is LotusFest-perhaps you're in town as I write this (09/17/05) ! -U.S. style dating. Just saw Pat's truly eloquent & INSIGHTFUL comments today after all these years;then linked-up to your little "witty-ditty".I've always derisively referred to "Teenie Kenny" as enny,gee,I wish I was black

Posted by: B.S.D. at September 17, 2005 01:09 PM

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