Zero Tolerance for Silence

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Zero Tolerance for Silence
Studio album by Pat Metheny
Released 1994
Recorded December 16, 1992
Studio Power Station, New York City
Genre Avant-garde jazz, free improvisation
Length 39:14
Label Geffen
Producer Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny chronology
The Road to You
(1993)The Road to You1993
Zero Tolerance for Silence
I Can See Your House from Here
(1994)I Can See Your House from Here1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 1.5/5 stars [1]
Entertainment Weekly B-[2]
The New York Times unfavorable[3]
Robert Christgau (dud)[4]

Zero Tolerance for Silence is a controversial 1994 album by American jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, released on Geffen Records. The album consists of music performed on overdubbed electric guitars, with "Part 5" featuring an acoustic guitar part. Rather than Metheny's standard repertoire of jazz fusion, Zero Tolerance for Silence consists of frantic, overdriven, intricately-textured soloing with occasionally distinguishable blues-like melodies.

The album caused a division of opinion among listeners, who had not expected the usually accessible Metheny to venture into the avant-garde. Some fans felt that the album was a mistake, and fan forums have occasionally pressured Metheny into disowning the recording.[citation needed] He has declined to do so, although Geffen quietly allowed it to fall out of print at the end of the 1990s. In a 2008 interview, Metheny was asked to respond to an internet rumor that the album was conceived as a "'poke in the eye' to Geffen Records":

That rumor was started by a journalist who was seriously not listening to the album. All it would have taken was a quick phone call [to me] to find out that that wasn't the case. Besides, I would never do something like that. It isn't the way I operate, which I think has been pretty self-evident over the years. That record speaks for itself in its own musical terms. To me, it is a 2-D view of a world in which I am usually functioning in a more 3-D way. It is entirely flat music, and that was exactly what it was intended to be.[5]

The album cover carried an endorsement by Thurston Moore, guitarist for Sonic Youth, hailing Metheny as a "master". Critics have generally been less kind. Ben Watson of the music magazine The Wire called it "rubbish," and AllMusic's Tim Griggs gave it 1.5 out of a possible 5 stars.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Part 1" – 18:32
  2. "Part 2" – 5:17
  3. "Part 3" – 4:19
  4. "Part 4" – 5:13
  5. "Part 5" – 5:53


  1. ^
  2. ^ Steffens, Daneet (1 April 1994). "Zero Tolerance for Silence". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. (216). Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Zwerin, Mike (30 March 1994). "For Pat Metheny, Silence Is Awful : The Sound Under The Sound". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Pat Metheny". Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Gold, Jude (September 2008). "Full Contact Musicology". Guitar Player. San Bruno, California: Newbay Media. 42 (9): 102.