Pat Metheny has achieved the best of both worlds. He's an extremely popular guitarist on the fusion circuit, has enjoyed top selling albums and packed concert halls coast-to-coast and around the world. He's attained enough clout and the skill to record with Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman and new sensation Joshua Redman on major label projects. These were sessions the multinational conglommerates put enough publicity muscle behind to ensureRead more widespread audiences and response. It's hard not to root for Metheny, who's never made any album that scraped the bottom of the lowest common denominator barrel. He has speed, a fleeting touch and lyrical style that makes his solos instantly indentifiable and never abrasive. He's smart enough to strike a balance between a light sound and an emaciated one, and never allows his playing to lack drive or ideas. He stresses simplicity rather than complexity, and tastefully uses chorus boxes, fuzz tones, wah wah pedals, echoplexes and guitar synthesizers. Metheny has incorporated Caribbean and Latin elements into his music, done such film works as the theme to The Falcon And The Snowman with David Bowie, and refuses to sit still or coast. He played French horn in school, and began guitar at 13. Metheny was giving lessons while in his teens. He formed an early and long-lasting relationship with Gary Burton, with whom he recorded three albums in the mid-'70s and reunited with in the '90s. Metheny studied and taught at Berklee and the University of Miami. He formed his own group in the late '70s and began recording for ECM. Though he didn't have huge crossover hits, Metheny attracted a wide audience and enjoyed consistent sales throughout the '70s and '80s. Those who dismissed him as a lightweight were caught by surprise when he issued 80/81 with Dewey Redman in 1980. The album also included Charlie Haden and Michael Brecker and was one of the most exuberant ever issued on ECM. Those who dismissed it as a fluke were even more astonished when Metheny cut Song X with Ornette Coleman on Geffen, probably the least likely label in America to issue an Ornette Coleman record, in 1986. Metheny co-wrote much of the music and sounded right at home. He's continued to record for Geffen, doing fine trio and combo material. Metheny scored a number one jazz album with Still Life (Talking) in 1987. He's recently toured and recorded with Joshua Redman, son of Dewey Redman and jazz's hottest new saxophonist in '93. He has many titles available on CD. ~ Ron Wynn and David Nelson McCarthy Read less
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