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.