Thu March 6, 2014
Night Train's March Featured Artist: Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny is one of those rare artists in jazz who combines the highest level of artistry with a popularity that extends well beyond the usual jazz circles. He is widely regarded as one of the finest guitarists of his generation and is known for his technical skill, heartland melodies and adventurous artistry.
Official Pat Metheny website:
Metheny was born in Lee's Summit, Missouri. He quickly went from studying in the highly-regarded jazz program at the University of Miami to teaching there and then at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has continued over the years to be an active jazz educator and one of the more thoughtful commentators on jazz as well. It was at Berklee that he met modern vibes master Gary Burton, in whose band he worked for three years.
Gary Burton and Pat Metheny reunited on the Letterman show:
Metheny made his recording debut as a leader with Bright Size Life in 1975. In 1978, he made his breakthrough with the self-titled Pat Metheny Group album ("The White Album") with Lyle Mays (his musical partner for some two decades), Mark Egan and Danny Gottlieb.
A 1977 concert performance by the Pat Metheny group of the White Album favorite, "Phase Dance":
Metheny has since recorded in a variety of settings, including solo, duet, trio, quintet, and with his Orchestrion (using his guitar to fire an "orchestra" of different instruments). Pat Metheny explains and plays his Orchestrion:
He has also worked with a who's who of artists over the years, including Ornette Coleman, Jim Hall, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, Joni Mitchell and many more. He has earned three gold records, 35 Grammy nominations and 20 awards, along numerous "Guitarist of the Year" critics and readers poll and other honors. He was also inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame in November, 2013, the youngest artist and only the fourth guitarist to be so honored.
Metheny is currently working with his expanded Unity Group, with an new album, Kin, just out and 2014 U.S. and international tours underway.
A Pat Metheny "podcast" where he talks about the original formation of the Unity Band: