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Sign of Four
Pat Metheny, Derek Bailey, Gregg Bendian
Sign of Four
Genres: Jazz, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #3


      
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CD Details

All Artists: Pat Metheny, Derek Bailey, Gregg Bendian
Title: Sign of Four
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Knitting Factory
Original Release Date: 5/20/1997
Release Date: 5/20/1997
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Jazz Fusion, Modern Postbebop, Smooth Jazz
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPC: 035828019729

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CD Reviews

Two out of three.
Douglas T Martin | Alpharetta, GA USA | 12/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 3 CD set contains two live recordings and one studio recording. The first live set, "Statement of the Case" featuring the 9-part "A Study in Scarlet", is the least successful. For the most part, it's a wall of noise; there's evidence of interaction between the players but it's just too loud to hear the ideas being developed and explored.The second disc, "The Science of Deduction", was recorded in the studio and finds the musicians branching out with the instrumentation using all manners of electric and acoustic guitars and percusion, both conventional and non-conventional. This disc has its share of noise but it also has subtlies and nuance - even a hint of (abstract) melody. The third disc, "The Balance of Probability" - another live set - also has more variety in the instrumentation. You can actually hear the players bouncing ideas off each other.Note to the uninitiated: Derek Bailey's music is not for everyone. Metheny is the marquee name on this recording; if you couldn't handle "Song X" or "Zero Tolerance for Silence" then this isn't for you."
Metheny's the weak link.
Hot Coque | 09/25/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This isn't "Noise" as so many have labeled it here (for that, see Merzbow or Daniel Menche). This is 'ecstatic' free improv - a chance for Metheny to expand his avant-cred. by dipping his toe in with some established improv collosi. Bendian/Wertico are great here (though poorly recorded, mostly), and Bailey is (again, mostly) buried behind Metheny's self-conscious swaggering. I am a card-carrying Bailey fan (read his book: Improvisation: its nature and practice in music; you'll understand), and I actually have a soft spot in my heart for Metheny, so I was VERY intrigued by this most unlikely of meetings. Believe it or not, but Metheny turns out to be the player least intent on 'listening' to his partners, his tortured lines running rough-shod over Bailey's glisses and thunks. For better Bailey, try "Aida," for better non-representative Bailey, try "Playbacks." For better Metheny, try "Song X" w/Ornette. For better Bendian, try Bendian/Cline "Interstellar Space revisited." Or, if you're really in search of 'noise,' try Borbetomagus!"
The Sign Of 4.
Louie Bourland | Garden Grove CA | 06/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

""The Sign of 4" is an unusual collaboration which finds the brilliant fusion-guitar hero Pat Metheny teaming up with British avant-garde guitarist Derek Bailey. Together with drummer/percussionists Paul Wertico (from Pat Metheny's Group) and Gregg Bendian, they have created one of the most notorious sets in improvisational music.
"The Sign of 4" is a 3-CD set which is recommended to be listened to in small doses. Many may find themselves shutting the music off after the first couple of minutes of the first disc. However, with a little bit of patience and knowledge of what lays within, this album can be quite an adventerous journey if you're willing to sit through it all.
The first disc was recorded live at New York's Knitting Factory in late 1996 and is subtitled "Statement of the Case". It consists of one 63-minute piece entitled "A Study in Scarlet". Although the piece is divided into nine sections, there is very little variation in this long epic. The piece consists mostly of Metheny screeching out dissonant lead-lines while Bailey hammers out distorted harmonics, sustained notes and feedback. Wertico and Bendian compliment the two guitarists cacophonous playing with suitable abstract percussive attacks.
Disc two is subtitled "The Science of Deduction" is consists of studio recordings. The music on this disc is not as harsh as disc one but is still abstract nonetheless. Metheny's playing is not too far removed from what he did on his infamous noise CD "Zero Tolerance For Silence" while Bailey's playing is done in his trademark style of odd harmonics, pulling and snapping strings and playing behind the bridge of the guitar. Bendian and Wertico use a vast array of regular percussion instruments as well as employing household objects (bedposts, egg beaters, plastic packing material, measuring tape) into the music.
Disc three is subtitled "The Balance of Probability" and is a continuation of the live performances heard on disc one. Once again, the music is full of harsh dissonance with lots of feedback and loud percussion. Unlike disc one, there is some variation in these noise-scapes. Metheny uses his 42-string guitar for a different texture on one piece and uses a guitar-synth on the closing track "In Quest of a Solution" which builds to a massive wall of indicipherable white noise towards its conclusion. Believe it or not, after the finale of this last piece, the audience roars with a thunderous applause which shows that there is a following for this type of exploritory music.
Most people who are accustomed to Pat Metheny's melodic and straight-forward material should be warned before picking up this CD-set. This is NOT your grandmother's Metheny. For the close-eared and close-minded, this album will not appeal to anyone looking for pleasant melodies, steady rhythms and simple structure. This music is dense, complex and face it, for most people, it will just sound like a barrage of noise. However, for those who appreciate adventerous, exploritory and experimental music, "The Sign of 4" is an amazing journey into the realms of pure sound. Whatever the motive was behind this album, Pat Metheny, Derek Bailey, Paul Wertico and Gregg Bendian successfully pulled out all the stops with "The Sign of 4". In terms of sailing uncharted waters, this album is a complete success."