Pat Metheny

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Lee's Summit,
Birth Sign
Lee's Summit,

Patrick Bruce ‘Pat’ Metheny is an American jazz guitarist and composer whose flexibility on any instrument has earned him recognition as one of the best contemporary artists. He is a multi-Grammy Award-winning jazz fusion guitarist who uses technology to combine pop music and classical jazz. Since he began touring over 30 years ago, he has averaged between 120 and 240 gigs per year, some for his own projects and some for other artists. He learned to play the trumpet and the guitar at the age of 15 after coming from a musical family. For academic credit in high school, he played the French horn in the half-time marching band and performed jazz in Kansas City. His achievements as a musician are exceptional, but his achievements as a music educator are equally so. He was the youngest music professor at both Miami University and Berklee College of Music. He rose to prominence as a youthful prodigy at Berklee, where he studied under vibraphonist Gary Burton. Later, he formed the Pat Metheny Group, which included pianist Lyle Mays. Mays would become a frequent collaborator, and their professional partnership extended 25 years and 15 recordings.

Childhood and Adolescence

Pat Metheny was born in Lee’s Summit, Missouri on August 12, 1954, into a musical family. Mike, his older brother, was a trumpet player, and his family was involved band music. He began playing the trumpet at the age of eight and switched to the guitar at the age of twelve. He received a Down Beat scholarship to a one-week jazz camp in 1969, when he met guitarist Attila Zoller. He attended the University of Miami after graduating from Lee’s Summit High School. He stayed at the university for a short time before being granted a teaching position.

Career of Pat Metheny

At the age of 18, he became the University of Miami’s youngest teacher, and then received a teaching assistantship at Berklee College of Music with jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton. He earned a reputation as a youthful prodigy at Berklee.

His first album, ‘Bright Size Life,’ was released in 1975 with Pastorius and drummer Bob Moses, and his second, ‘Watercolours,’ was released in 1977 with pianist Lyle Mays, bassist Eberhard Weber, and drummer Danny Gottlieb.
In 1977, he formed the ‘Pat Metheny Group,’ a jazz fusion outfit in which he served as guitarist, composer, and frontman, with Lyle Mays serving as keyboards and composer. Danny Gottlieb and Mark Egan were also members of the band. The ECM label issued the group’s first album, ‘Pat Metheny Group,’ in 1978.

‘American Garage,’ the group’s second album, was a major hit, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz chart in 1979. ‘(Cross the) Heartland,’ the album’s first single, was an instant hit and became the band’s hallmark song. Pat’s Gibson ES-175 guitar, two Eventide Clockworks’ Harmonizer digital delay units, Mays’ Oberheim and Sequential Circuit Prophet 5 synthesizer, and a Steinway piano gave the quartet its distinct sound.

Pat Metheny later ditched his Gibson guitar in favor of the Roland GR-300 guitar synthesizer and the New England Digital Synclavier guitar system, while Mays worked with a Synclavier keyboard and a variety of synthesizers. Their following album, ‘Offramp,’ was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1982. It included bassist Steve Rodby and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos, as well as wordless vocals by Brazilian guest artist Nana Vasconcelos.

The albums ‘Travels’ (1983), ‘First Circle’ (1984), and ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’ (1985) were the group’s next releases (1985). New members to ‘First Circle’ were Argentinean multi-instrumentalist Aznar and drummer Paul Wertico. Their 1987 album ‘Still Life (Talking)’ blended Brazilian jazz harmonies with jazz, folk, and pop influences. The album ‘Letter From Home’ was released as a follow-up (1989).

Metheny and Mays referred to the albums ‘We Live Here’ (1995), ‘Quartet’ (1996), and ‘Imaginary Day’ (1997) as the triptych. The Latin music style that had dominated their earlier releases was abandoned in favor of exploration and improvisation on these recordings.

‘Speaking of Now,’ released in 2002, featured various younger players including as drummer Antonio Sanchez, trumpet player Cuong Vu, and bassist-vocalist-guitarist-percussionist Richard Bona. Their concept album, ‘The Way Up,’ was released in 2005 and featured a 68-minute piece. The album featured two guest musicians, Bona and Dave Samuels, as well as a new group member, Swiss-American harmonica player Gregoire Maret.

In 2012, he founded the ‘Unity Band,’ which included drummer Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams, and saxophonist Chris Potter, and toured Europe and the United States. In 2013, the band was renamed the ‘Pat Metheny Unity Group,’ and a new member, Italian composer and multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi, was added. In 2014, the band embarked on their first global tour.

Major Works Metheny’s solo album, ‘Secret Story,’ as well as The Pat Metheny Group’s albums ‘Still Life (Talking)’ and ‘Letter from Home,’ all went gold, while the group’s live performances of ‘The Way Up,’ got standing ovations in nearly 90 concerts on their 2005 world tour.

Achievements & Awards

Pat Metheny has 20 Grammy Awards to his name, including several with the Pat Metheny Group. In 2001, he received the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo for his solo performance on “(Go) Get It.” The Miles Davis Award was presented to him by the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 1995. In November of 2013, he was inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame.

Personal History and Legacy

Pat Metheny has three children with his wife, Latifa. He also works for The California Environmental Legacy Project, a non-profit organization.

Estimated Net Worth

Pat Metheny is a $10 million dollar jazz guitarist and composer from the United States. Pat Metheny was born in August 1954 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Jazz, jazz fusion, progressive jazz, and Latin jazz are among his musical styles. He is the only individual to ever win Grammy Awards in ten different categories, with a total of 20.