Pat Metheny was the central focus of three special events on the Rollins
College campus in early February, including a Master Class. Learn more about
the legendary musician below.
Pat Metheny was the central focus of three special events on the Rollins College campus in early February, including a Master Class. Learn more about the legendary musician below.
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.
As well as being an accomplished musician, Metheny has also participated in the academic arena as a music educator. At 18, he was the youngest teacher ever at the University of Miami. At 19, he became the youngest teacher ever at the Berklee College of Music, where he also received an honorary doctorate more than twenty years later (1996). He has also taught music workshops all over the world, from the Dutch Royal Conservatory to the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz to clinics in Asia and South America. He has also been a true musical pioneer in the realm of electronic music, and was one of the very first jazz musicians to treat the synthesizer as a serious musical instrument. Years before the invention of MIDI technology, Metheny was using the Synclavier as a composing tool. He also has been instrumental in the development of several new kinds of guitars such as the soprano acoustic guitar, the 42-string Pikasso guitar, Ibanez's PM-100 jazz guitar, and a variety of other custom instruments.
It is one thing to attain popularity as a musician, but it is another to receive the kind of acclaim Metheny has garnered from critics and peers. Over the years, Metheny has won countless polls as "Best Jazz Guitarist" and awards, including three gold records for (Still Life) Talking, Letter from Home, and Secret Story. He has also won 18 Grammy Awards spread out over a variety of different categories including Best Rock Instrumental, Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Instrumental Composition. The Pat Metheny Group won an unprecedented seven consecutive Grammies for seven consecutive albums. Metheny has spent most of his life on tour, averaging between 120-240 shows a year since 1974. At the time of this writing, he continues to be one of the brightest stars of the jazz community, dedicating time to both his own projects and those of emerging artists and established veterans alike, helping them to reach their audience as well as realizing their own artistic visions.