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October Feature: Pat Metheny

Pat Metheny is one of the rare artists in jazz who combines the highest level of artistry with a popularity that extends well beyond the usual jazz circles. He is widely regarded as one of the finest guitarists of his generation and is known for his technical skill, heartland melodies and adventurous artistry.

Metheny was born in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He quickly went from studying in the highly regarded jazz program at the University of Miami to teaching there and then at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. (He has continued over the years to be an active jazz educator and one of the more thoughtful commentators on jazz as well.) It was at Berklee that he met modern vibes master Gary Burton, in whose band he work for three years. Metheny made his debut on record as a leader with Bright Size Life in 1975. He then made his breakthrough with the self-titled 1978 Pat Metheny Group album (“The White Album”) with Lyle Mays (his musical partner for some two decades), Mark Egan and Danny Gottlieb.

He went on to record in a variety of settings, including solo, duet, trio, quintet, and with his Orchestrion (using his guitar to fire an “orchestra” of different instruments). Metheny has also worked with a who’s who of artists over the years, including Ornette Coleman, Jim Hall, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, Joni Mitchell and many more. He has earned three gold records, 19 Grammys, and numerous “Guitarist of the Year” critics and readers poll awards.

A 1977 concert performance by the Pat Metheny group of the White Album favorite, "Phase Dance" -

Pat Metheny solo with "And I Love Her" - 

Pat Metheny explains and plays his Orchestrion - 

Pat Metheny "podcast" about his latest project, The Unity Band - 


Chris Heim produces and hosts Global Village, a nationally and internationally distributed world music show; the nightly jazz show Night Train, and Crossroads, KMUW’s twice-weekly blues and R&B show. Chris is also a critic and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Utne, Global Rhythm, Dirty Linen, and Option, among others.