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Pat Metheny Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Mirror Image, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Mirror Image

    Mirror Image Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 - 1959) Thread Starter


    PAT METHENY was born in Kansas City on August 12, 1954 into a musical family. Starting on trumpet at the age of 8, Metheny switched to guitar at age 12. By the age of 15, he was working regularly with the best jazz musicians in Kansas City, receiving valuable on-the-bandstand experience at an unusually young age. Metheny first burst onto the international jazz scene in 1974. Over the course of his three-year stint with vibraphone great Gary Burton, the young Missouri native already displayed his soon-to-become trademarked playing style, which blended the loose and flexible articulation customarily reserved for horn players with an advanced rhythmic and harmonic sensibility - a way of playing and improvising that was modern in conception but grounded deeply in the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues. With the release of his first album, Bright Size Life (1975), he reinvented the traditional "jazz guitar" sound for a new generation of players. Throughout his career, Pat Metheny has continued to re-define the genre by utilizing new technology and constantly working to evolve the improvisational and sonic potential of his instrument. METHENY'S versatility is almost nearly without peer on any instrument. Over the years, he has performed with artists as diverse as Steve Reich to Ornette Coleman to Herbie Hancock to Jim Hall to Milton Nascimento to David Bowie. Metheny's body of work includes compositions for solo guitar, small ensembles, electric and acoustic instruments, large orchestras, and ballet pieces, with settings ranging from modern jazz to rock to classical.

    As well as being an accomplished musician, Metheny has also participated in the academic arena as a music educator. At 18, he was the youngest teacher ever at the University of Miami. At 19, he became the youngest teacher ever at the Berklee College of Music, where he also received an honorary doctorate more than twenty years later (1996). He has also taught music workshops all over the world, from the Dutch Royal Conservatory to the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz to clinics in Asia and South America. He has also been a true musical pioneer in the realm of electronic music, and was one of the very first jazz musicians to treat the synthesizer as a serious musical instrument. Years before the invention of MIDI technology, Metheny was using the Synclavier as a composing tool. He has also been instrumental in the development of several new kinds of guitars such as the soprano acoustic guitar, the 42-string Pikasso guitar, Ibanez's PM-100 jazz guitar, and a variety of other custom instruments. He took the whole instrument development process into a different level with his mechanical, solenoid driven Orchestrion.

    t is one thing to attain popularity as a musician, but it is another to receive the kind of acclaim Metheny has garnered from critics and peers. Over the years, Metheny has won countless polls as "Best Jazz Guitarist" and awards, including three gold records for Still Life (Talking), Letter from Home, and Secret Story. He has also won 20 Grammy Awards in 12 different categories including Best Rock Instrumental, Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Instrumental Composition. The Pat Metheny Group won an unprecedented seven consecutive Grammies for seven consecutive albums. Metheny has spent most of his life on tour, averaging between 120-240 shows a year since 1974. At the time of this writing, he continues to be one of the brightest stars of the jazz community, dedicating time to both his own projects and those of emerging artists and established veterans alike, helping them to reach their audience as well as realizing their own artistic visions.

    [Article taken from Pat Metheny : Pat Metheny: Home ]


    I figured I’d start a thread on Metheny since the other one is locked (for whatever reason). My first encounter with Pat Metheny was with the Pat Metheny Group’s album, Offramp. My dad played this album for me 20 years ago (perhaps even longer) and I’ve been a dedicated fan of Metheny’s ever since. I still hold the opinion that Metheny’s best work was for ECM Records, although he’s done some good work when he switched to Geffen, but albums like the afore mentioned Offramp plus Rejoicing, First Circle, Travels, As Wichita Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls, Watercolors, Bright Size Life, and the Pat Metheny Group’s self-titled debut have all remained favorites of mine.

    What was the first Metheny album you heard? What albums remain favorites? How did you discover his music? Inquiring minds want to know...

    Look forward to reading all of your responses and hopefully this thread will ignite discussion on one of the most immensely gifted guitarists of past 40 years.
    Tim 2, highway, lightbulb and 7 others like this.
  2. samurai

    samurai "See the glory, of the royal scam."

    Have most of his albums and have seen him live three times.
    Most of my favorites were recorded with Lyle Mays.
    There was a symbiosis there that I really enjoy.
  3. John Buchanan

    John Buchanan I'm just a headphone kinda guy.

    First album heard: Travels, at a music shop I used to frequent.
    Favourite albums: Letter From Home and 80/81.
    Try and buy the Geffen versions of the later albums - less compression. The ECM albums seem to have similar/the same masterings over time.
  4. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    detroit, mi
    Saw him in concert once.

    Puts on a good show!!
    oldsurferdude likes this.
  5. Musicisthebest

    Musicisthebest Forum Resident

    Manchester, UK
    I consider myself fortunate to have heard the Pat Metheny Group album shortly after it was released & have enjoyed his music ever since. I also feel his best music was on ECM & I've not found anything he's done after The Road To You that I've really enjoyed. Hopefully this thread will spur me on to discover some of his releases after this which I'll really enjoy.


    Pat Metheny Group
    Still Life Talking
    The Road To You

    Grey market releases

    The Pat Metheny Group In Concert
    Live Chicago 87
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  6. Yovra

    Yovra Collector of Beatles Threads

    A player with great style and taste. A fantastic run of albums for ECM and after that some very fine albums. I don't see the merits of his guitar synth-sound, though...
    And he's very quiet on the release-front the past few year, isn't he?
  7. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    Plays synth guitar like a boss.
  8. scoutbb

    scoutbb Forum Resident

    Big fan since hearing It's For You in the early 80s of off As Falls Wichita ......
    Got to see him live a couple of times.
    One of my favorite artists, along with Jean-Luc Ponty, and Zappa.
    Smiler, Xabby, laf848 and 2 others like this.
  9. PJayBe

    PJayBe Forum Resident

    Really love the early stuff, but drifted away through the 80's. Nowt wrong with what he was doing, just didn't grab my ear. First album I heard was 80/81 that I still don't have on CD, really must remedy that sometime!!!
    John Buchanan likes this.
  10. dr jazz

    dr jazz Forum Resident

    park ridge,il,usa
    Saw him on the tour with ornette Coleman. That was a memorable show
  11. conjotter

    conjotter Forum Resident

    I have all his stuff on ECM.

    80/81 is a monster album.

    Like his post-ECM music as well, but the earlier albums are my favourites.
    John Buchanan likes this.
  12. caupina

    caupina Forum Resident

    Santiago, Chile
    PMG was my introduction to jazz in 1990 when I listened to " Are you going with me" on the radio, from then on I started buying almost all the CDs and discovering how good these guys were. Love pretty much all his catalogue however I stay away from the "free jazz" style of works such as "Song X" "ZTFS", "Sign of Four" among others. What really attracts me more is when Lyle Mays is involved, I mentioned before and I'll say it again I think LM was the "cohesive element" of PMG and his use of synth and his sense of orchestration was just amazing. I do enjoy PM solo works but not as much as when LM was also playing...when I listen to "September 15th" I get really emotional and that what's make PM/LM worthwhile to me.
    Smiler and CybrKhatru like this.
  13. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    He's recorded but I think is reluctant to release new music in the time of streaming and limited CD sales, too bad.
  14. CybrKhatru

    CybrKhatru Music is life.

    Los Angeles
    One of my earliest musical memories is hearing the first Pat Metheny Group album with my dad. I was 7 and the album was brand new. I think he'd heard 'Phase Dance' on the local jazz station and bought the album based on that.

    This began a love affair with Metheny's music that is still strong with me today. I've managed to see him in concert many times (with the Group and occasionally in other contexts)…. his keyboardist Lyle Mays was my first keyboard idol, and I'm still a huge fan.

    Favorite albums::: besides the aforementioned white PMG album....

    Still Life (Talking)
    Imaginary Day
    The Road To You

    and non-Group stuff:
    Bright Size Life
    As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls
    Shadows and Light (as a part of Joni's band)

    Favorite concert experience was probably the second leg of Speaking of Now tour. PMG played at a small theater on the UCSB camps. Intimate and killer show!!!!

    One other thing... the guy is so versatile... but his ballads IMO are to die for. SO many...
  15. Jimbino

    Jimbino Goad Kicker, Music Lover

    San Jose, CA, USA
    Pat is hands-down my favorite musician. I've seen Pat in a number of settings over the years:

    PMG fifteen times (First Cir, Still Life, Letter, We Live (x3), Imaginary Day (x5), Speaking (x3), and The Way Up)
    w Charlie Haden, Ernie Watts, and Paul Wertico
    Parallel Realities tour
    trio with Larry Grenadier and Brian Blade
    Trio 99/00
    Trio 99/00 w/ Michael Brecker
    Quartet w / Christian McBride, Antonio Sanchez, and David Sanchez
    Gary Burton Reunion tour

    Sadly, I've had to miss several Bay Area shows over the last ten years due to health and family commitments. But I am there in spirit!
  16. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Detroit, Michigan
    [​IMG] I saw Pat Metheny performing as a duo with bassist Ron Carter at the Detroit Jazz Festival this year. While I only had a partial view, due to my late arrival and the large crowd, I could hear it well and it was quite traditional sounding (in a very good way), minimal or no effects on the guitar and Carter walking along behind him on the king-size upright bass.
  17. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group

    A fantastic guitarist and phenomenal artist.
  18. Jocko

    Jocko Forum Resident

    I also started with Offramp. I’m glad I happen to start there. It’s a little more accessible than others.
    Whenever I need to relax my brain for a few minutes, a nice soothing blast on the stereo of
    “Are You Going With Me ?” always does the trick.
    razerx likes this.
  19. BackScratcher

    BackScratcher Forum Resident

    I own about a dozen of his albums, and have seen him live four times with the PMG. The most impressive concert included a complete live performance of The Way Up (more than a hour straight through) as the first set.
  20. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    Big fan ever since buying Travels in 1986 just because I liked the cover. I feel like he’s been semi-retired of late though. I know he tours but haven’t heard any new projects from him and that’s what I’m mostly interested in.
  21. Mirror Image

    Mirror Image Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 - 1959) Thread Starter

    Of all the musical collaborators Metheny has worked with during his career, I have to say that it is his partnership with Lyle Mays that remains the most influential to me. Mays had a way of ‘reeling in’ Metheny and helped compose some of the most gorgeously orchestrated sonorities within the PMG. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Mays is an incredible pianist and improviser. One listen to September Fifteenth from As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls and you hear a pianist with such a beautiful sense of harmony, rhythm, and melody and everything he plays sounds so natural and flowing like it was a part of the composition all along.
  22. Jimbino

    Jimbino Goad Kicker, Music Lover

    San Jose, CA, USA
    To the DQ:
    What was the first Metheny album you heard?
    That would be Travels. The first tune I heard was "Are You Going With Me?" and I was instantly hooked. After it lingering in my ears for a few months, I finally made my way to the Music Listening room at SJSU, asked for Travels and then went into the isolation room. After sides 1 - 2 were complete, my musical life had changed. Up to that point, my sole references point in jazz guitar was Al DiMeola. But now, I had something with compositional heft of melody and harmony and did not rely solely on chops.

    What albums remain favorites?
    AFWSFWF, Travels, Still Life (Talking), Imaginary Day, Beyond the Missouri Sky, The Way Up, Day Trip / Tokyo Day Trip,
    and Tap.

    How did you discover his music? Inquiring minds want to know...
    In high school, someone brought a copy of either Travels or Offramp into class and spun it. I was transfixed by the colors and textures of "AYGWM?" with the Bossa nova lilt and the other-worldly guitar.
    The MEZ, lightbulb, robcar and 3 others like this.
  23. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    My appreciation knows no bounds. My favorite musician by far, extremely influential in my burgeoning interest in jazz as a youngster, and can we please get another PMG album? I could probably wax poetic about this guy for many paragraphs-suffice to say he's a giant and he just keeps going and growing. Favorite Metheny album is probably the "White" album, but there's about 8 ties for second.
  24. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    If that is the one from San Francisco and Seattle 1977, it is from a promo LP issued by ECM.
  25. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    Sorry to say I wouldn't bet on it. Lyle Mays seems to have little interest in going back into music.

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