Pat Metheny

Instrument: Guitar | Location: Kansas City

Pat Metheny is one of those rare artists whose virtuosity is so fluid that it is no longer a necessary lens through which to view his music.
—All About Jazz

Updated: November 14, 2019

Born: August 12, 1954

Pat Metheny is an NEA Jazz Master

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. He has been part of a writing team with keyboardist Lyle Mays for more than twenty years—an association that has been compared to the Lennon/McCartney and Ellington/Strayhorn partnerships by critics and listeners alike. 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.

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August 12, 2019

Jazz Musician of the Day: Pat Metheny

December 12, 2018

All About Jazz Celebrates the NEA Jazz Masters

August 12, 2018

Jazz Musician of the Day: Pat Metheny

May 25, 2018

Umbria Jazz 2018 In Perugia From July 13-22: Celebrating 45 Years Of...

August 12, 2017

Jazz Musician of the Day: Pat Metheny

July 01, 2017

National Endowment for the Arts Announces 2018 Class of NEA Jazz Masters

February 23, 2016

New Contemporary Jazz Cruise To Launch In 2017 With Performances By The...

September 22, 2016

Jazz this week: Dr. Lonnie Smith's Evolution, Pat Metheny Quartet,...

August 12, 2016

Jazz Musician of the Day: Pat Metheny

May 26, 2016

Nonesuch Releases Two New Recordings from Pat Metheny: The Unity...

October 06, 2015

Music Education Monday: Pat Metheny and John Scofield on improvisation

September 23, 2015

Pianist Bob Karty Launches Kickstarter Campaign Reuniting Members Of...

September 16, 2015

Pianist Bob Karty’s Kickstarter Reunites Members Of Oregon And The...

August 11, 2015

Jazz Musician of the Day: Pat Metheny

July 24, 2015

International Songwriting Competition Announces 2105 Judges Panel

August 12, 2014

Jazz Musician of the Day: Pat Metheny

July 10, 2014

Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Danilo Perez, Jean-Luc Ponty, And More To...

April 26, 2014

Enter the "Pat Metheny Unity Group - Kin (←→)" Giveaway at All...

March 06, 2014

Jazz This Week: Sean Jones, Galactic, Pat Metheny Unity Group, Andre...

November 22, 2013

Nonesuch Releases Debut Recording from Pat Metheny Unity Group, Kin...

Gary Burton Gary Burton
vibraphone
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
saxophone, alto
John Coltrane John Coltrane
saxophone
Miles Davis Miles Davis
trumpet
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar
Steve Reich Steve Reich
composer/conductor
The Beatles The Beatles
band/orchestra

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