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.
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 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.
- Antonio Sanchez:Joining Pat this year once again will be his long-time drummer Antonio Sanchez who has been his most consistent associate in a huge variety of settings since 2000. “Antonio is always incredible. He is one of the greatest drummers of all time and the fact that we have been able to share so much music together over these years is something really special for both of us. And I am so proud of all his recent successes with the “Birdman” score.”
Antonio’s score for the Oscar winning Alejandro G. Innaritu film was nominated for a Golden Globe award and 2016 Grammy award as well as dozens of other prizes around the world. Pat goes on to say “Being on the bandstand with Antonio is like nothing else I have ever experienced with any other musician. He has the capacity to listen and be inside the music with an intensity that is unique. That focus, combined with his truly otherworldly skills on the kit puts him his own category.”
- Linda May Han Oh:Linda May Han Oh - Malaysian/Australian bassist Linda May Han Oh has been extremely active on the New York scene for the past few years, playing with many of the major musicians in the community as well as performing and recording on her own. Metheny continues “I love to follow who the new players around town and I go out often to check out what everyone is doing. The first time I heard Linda, she immediately went to the top of my list of candidates. She has everything I always am looking for; great time, great notes and a lot of imagination. But the most important thing I am always searching for in any musician is an elusive and hard to describe quality that embodies a certain communicative ability to connect - not just to the other musicians, but to the audience as well. Linda has that. When we got together, she was so easy to play with. I am really excited to get the chance to play with Linda.”
- Gwilym Simcock: Rounding out the ensemble is British pianist Gwilym Simcock, one of the most exciting new pianists to emerge from the UK in many years. Metheny: “I first heard about Gwilym on a trip to London a few years back when someone at a radio station gave me his debut record while mentioning to me that he had often spoken of his interest in this music having been sparked by his exposure to one of my early records, again one of the most flattering things imaginable. When I listened to his CD, I became an instant fan; Gwilym is simply one of the best piano players I have heard in a long, long time.
After trying to find time to get together over a number of years, in 2014 I was finally able to stay over after a gig in London do some playing. We had planned on getting together for a few hours or so but wound up playing continuously for an entire afternoon. I have only ever had that kind of communication and ease of playing with another musician a handful of times over the years to that degree. I am so excited to get the chance to play with Gwilym and there seems to be enormous potential there for us to develop a really unique way of playing together.”
- Bright Size Life (1976) (ECM).
- Watercolors (1977) (ECM). It arises from the collaboration with Lyle Mays, with whom he would later found the Pat Metheny Group.
With Pat Metheny Group:
- Pat Metheny Group (1978).
- American Garage (1979).
- Wichita Falls (1981).
- Offramp (1982).
- First Circle (1984).
- Works (1984).
- Still Life (Talking) (1987).
- Letter From Home (1989).
- The Road To You (1993).
- We Live Here (1995).
- Quartet (1996), Imaginary Day (1997).
- Speaking Of Now (2002)
- The Way Up (2005).
With Pat Metheny Unity Band:
- Unity Band (2012).
- Kin (2014).
As a soloist:
- New Chautauqua (1979)
- Secret Story (1992).
- Zero Tolerance For Silence (1994).
- One Quiet Night (2003), Orchestrion (2009).
- What's It All About (2011).
- The Orchestrion Project (2012).
- Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20 (2013).
As a side-man:
- Beyond the Missouri Sky con Charlie Haden (1997).
- Jim Hall & Pat Metheny con Jim Hall (1999).
- I can see your house from here, con John Scofield (1994).
- The Sign of 4, con Derek Bailey, Gregg Bendian & Paul Wertico (1997).
- Like Minds, con Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Roy Haynes & Dave Holland (1999).
- Upojenie, con Anna Maria Jopek (2002).
- Metheny Mehldau, con Brad Mehldau (2006).
- Metheny Mehldau Quartet, con Brad Mehldau (2007).
- Quartet Live, con Gary Burton, Steve Swallow y Antonio Sánchez (2009).
- Rejoicing, con Charlie Haden y Billy Higgins (1983).
- Question And Answer, con Dave Holland y Roy Haynes (1990).
- Trio 99 → 00, con Larry Grenadier y Bill Stewart (2000).
- Trio → Live, con Larry Grenadier y Bill Stewart (2000).
- Day Trip, con Christian McBride y Antonio Sánchez (2008).
- 80/81, con Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Brecker y Dewey Redman (1980).
- Song X, con Ornette Coleman (1986).
- "Under Fire" (1984) de Jerry Goldsmith.
- "The Falcon And The Snowman" (1985).
- "Passaggio Per Il Paradiso" (1997).
- "A Map Of The World" (1999).
- "Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados" (2013).
- Antonio Carlos Jobim
- Jaco Pastorius
- Herbie Hancock
- John Scofield
- Carlos Santana
- Michale Brecker
- Tootsi Thielemans
- David Bowie
- Milton Nascimento, among others
- 36 Grammy award nominations.
- Winner of 20 Grammy awards, including an unprecedented 7 in a row for 7 consecutive PMG recordings. (The Group has won a total of 10).
- Starting in the 1980's, Metheny has earned Grammys in four consecutive decades.
- 3 Gold Records (Secret Story, Still Live Talking, Letter From Home).
- DownBeat Hall of Fame - Inducted in November, 2013.
- National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master - Inducted in April, 2018.
- Royal Swedish Academy of Music - Inducted in November, 2018.
- Missouri Music Hall of Fame - Inducted in 2016.
- 44 recordings totaling about 20 million records sold worldwide.