PAT METHENY was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1954 into a musical family. He began on trumpet at age 8, and then switched to guitar at 12. By age 15, he was playing gigs with the best jazz musicians in Kansas City, then left for the University of Miami School of Music where, at age 18, he became the youngest instructor ever. The same was true a year later when he taught at Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music. He then burst onto the international jazz scene in 1974 with vibraphone great Gary Burton, displaying his already trademarked style, blending the loose and flexible articulation customarily reserved for horn players with an advanced rhythmic and harmonic sensibility - modern in conception but grounded deeply in the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues. With the release of Bright Size Life (1975), his first as a leader, he reinvented the “traditional” jazz guitar sound for a new generation of players. Throughout his career, Pat has continued to re-define the genre by employing 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 minimalist composer Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Hancock, Milton Nascimento, and David Bowie. His 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, rock and classical. “Orchestrion,” a one-man technological tour de force in 2010, dazzled listeners/viewers.
It is one thing to attain popularity as a musician, but it is another to receive the kind of acclaim Metheny has gotten from critics and peers. Over the years Metheny has won countless polls as Best Jazz Guitarist and other awards, including three gold records. He has also has been nominated for 33 Grammy Awards in 12 different categories and has collected an astounding 17 Grammys in 10 categories, including Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, and Best Instrumental Composition. The Pat Metheny Group won an unprecedented seven Grammys for seven consecutive albums.
The Pat Metheny Trio that will perform for South Florida JAZZ features arguably the most exciting and gifted drummer in jazz, Antonio Sanchez, whose polyrhythmic, four-limb independence almost defies description and credulity. Young, talented bassist Ben Williams is a recent winner of the Thelonious Monk Institute competition and joins very fast company with Pat and Antonio. South Florida JAZZ concertgoers saw him recently in Nicholas Payton’s quintet providing a deep, solid groove.
Pat Metheny continues to be one of the brightest stars in the jazz galaxy, dedicating time both to his own projects and to those of emerging artists and established veterans alike, helping them to reach their audiences as well as realizing their own artistic visions.