Pat Metheny

  • Jazz fusion/contemporary jazz guitarist and songwriter born in 1954 from Lee’s Summit Missouri.
  • Metheny’s father and grandfather were trumpeters who played big band and swing music at home. He first learned the trumpet, but after seeing The Beatles perform on television, he took an interest in the guitar, and he received a Gibson guitar for his twelfth birthday. At 15 years old, he won a scholarship to a jazz camp where he learned jazz guitar technique. Several years later, the dean of the music program at the University of Miami offered him a scholarship after watching Metheny perform at a club. After a week at the school, he told the dean that he wasn’t cut out for school – so the dean offered him a job to teach instead. Metheny then moved to Boston to teach at the Berklee School of Music – still a teenager – where he established a reputation for his exceptional jazz guitar skills.
  • In 1974, he appeared on an album with 3 other jazz musicians – titled Jaco (for bassist Jaco Pastorius), Metheny was unaware that the performance was recorded at the time. In 1976, he released his debut album, Bright Size Life, with Pastorius on bass and Bob Moses on drums. It would be the first of over 130 albums that Metheny contributed to, as solo artist, frontman, sideman or a supporting role. His most recent album, From This Place, was released in 2020, giving him releases over 6 different decades.
  • He was most prominently known for his jazz band The Pat Metheny Group. The group released 14 albums between 1978 and 2005. His chief collaborator in songwriting and arrangement in the group was keyboardist Lyle Mays, who died in 2020 at the age of 66. Over the years, 17 other musicians participated as band members. Their second album, American Garage, was the first of 4 to top the Billboard Jazz Album chart. Between 1983 and 2005, The Pat Metheny Group won 11 Grammy awards in 2 jazz categories, as well as a Rock Instrumental category.
  • Metheny released numerous albums as collaborations, duets, trios, and quartets. Five of these albums topped the jazz album charts. He worked with a wide variety of artists, such as Gary Burton (Grammy winning vibraphonist), Chick Corea (Grammy winning keyboardist) and Michael Brecker (Grammy winning saxophonist). He also contributed to recordings with mainstream rock/jazz artists like Joni Mitchell, Bruce Hornsby and Philip Bailey.
  • Metheny won a total of 20 Grammy awards, in 10 different categories – no other artist has won as many Grammy awards in as many different categories. He won Grammys in 4 different decades (the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s). He’s an artist who is innovative in that he produced lots of music with innovative styles – in many ways, helping to define what modern jazz is today. Check out this cool video of Metheny performing on one of his synthesizer guitars (4 guitars built into 1). Trust me – you’ve never seen anything like it. It’s called Into the Dream – and it certainly is dreamy!

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