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Pat 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 redefine the genre by utilizing new technology and constantly working to evolve the improvisational and sonic potential of his instrument. Metheny’s versatility is 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 and even the robotic instruments of his Orchestrion project, while always sidestepping the limits of any one genre.
It 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 spread out over a variety of different categories including Best Rock Instrumental, Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Instrumental Composition at one point winning seven consecutive Grammies for seven consecutive albums. In 2015 he was inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame, becoming only the fourth guitarist to be included (along with Django Reinhardt, Charlie Chrisitan and Wes Montgomery) and it’s youngest member.
Presented by Count Basie Center for the Arts