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Pat Metheny Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Pat Metheny Group is an American jazz fusion group founded in 1977 in Missouri. The core members of the group are guitarist, composer and bandleader Pat Metheny; and keyboardist and composer Lyle Mays, who was in the group at its inception. Other long-standing members include bassist and producer Steve Rodby, who joined in 1981, and Paul Wertico, who was the group's drummer for 18 years from 1983 to 2001.

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Founder Pat Metheny first emerged on the jazz scene in the mid-1970s with a pair of solo albums. First was Bright Size Life, released in 1976, a trio album with bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius and drummer Bob Moses. The next album, released in 1977, was Watercolors, featuring Eberhard Weber on bass, pianist Lyle Mays, and drummer Danny Gottlieb.

Despite the common description of Metheny's music as "fusion," it was always his intention[citation needed] to create improvised music that had a greater emphasis on bringing out harmony than anything common to what was called "fusion" of the time. Pastorius, with whom Metheny struck up a friendship while the two attended the University of Miami and later toured in Joni Mitchell's backing band during her transition from her earlier folk rock compositions to those with more jazz influence, had at the same time explored melodic lines for his instrument within the melodies normally heard, rather than just providing a simple bassline, revolutionizing the way the bass guitar was viewed by the musical establishment[citation needed]. The two friends would talk into the late evening during the early 1970s and discuss the new possibilities their instruments held.[citation needed]

At the same time, Jaco and I were both really on a mission to find a way to play and find a way to present our instruments in an improvisational environment that expressed our dissatisfaction with the status quo at the time.

— Pat Metheny[1]

In 1977, bassist Mark Egan joined Metheny, Mays, and Gottlieb to form the Pat Metheny Group. They released the self-titled album "Pat Metheny Group" in 1978 on the ECM label, which featured several songs co-written by Metheny and Mays. The group's second album, American Garage in 1979, was a breakout hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Jazz chart and crossing over to the pop charts as well, largely on the strength of the up-tempo opening track "(Cross the) Heartland" which would become a signature tune for the group. The group built upon its success with lengthy tours in the USA and Europe.

The group featured a unique sound, particularly due to Metheny's Gibson ES-175 guitar coupled to two digital delay units and Mays' Oberheim synthesizer and Yamaha Organ. The group played in a wide range of styles from experimental to grassroots music. Later on, Metheny began working with the Roland GR300 guitar synthesizer and a Synclavier System, while Mays expanded his setup with a Prophet 5 synthesizer designed by Sequential Circuits, and later with many other synthesizers.


Left to right: Steve Rodby and Pat Metheny
Left to right: Steve Rodby and Pat Metheny

The Pat Metheny Group released the album Offramp in 1982. Offramp marked the first recorded appearance of bassist Steve Rodby in the group (replacing Mark Egan), and also featured Brazilian "guest artist" Naná Vasconcelos. Vasconcelos had appeared on the Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays album As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls in 1981, and his performance on percussion and wordless vocals marked the first addition of Latin-South American music shadings to the Group's sound. Offramp was also the group's first recording to win a Grammy Award, the first win of many[2] for the group.

In 1983, a live album titled Travels was released. It won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance in 1984. 1984 brought the release of First Circle a popular album that featured compositions with mixed meters. With this album, the group had a new drummer, Paul Wertico (replacing Danny Gottlieb). Wertico and Steve Rodby having both played with the Simon & Bard Group. A soundtrack album The Falcon and the Snowman followed in 1985. It featured the song "This Is Not America", a writing and performing collaboration with David Bowie which reached #14 in the British Top 40[citation needed] and #32 on the US Billboard Hot 100[3] in early 1985.

The South American influence would continue and intensify on First Circle with the addition of Argentine multi-instrumentalist Pedro Aznar. This period saw the commercial popularity of the band increase, especially thanks to the live recording Travels. First Circle would also be Metheny's last project with the ECM label; Metheny had been a key artist for ECM but left over conceptual disagreements with label founder Manfred Eicher.

The next three Pat Metheny Group releases would be based around a further intensification of the Brazilian rhythms first heard in the early '80s. Additional South American musicians appear as guests, notably Brazilian percussion player Armando Marçal. Still Life (Talking) in 1987, was the Group's first release on new label, Geffen Records, and featured several tracks which have long been popular with the group's followers, and which are still in their setlist. In particular, the album's first tune, "Minuano (Six Eight)", represents a good example of the Pat Metheny group compositional style from this period: the track starts with a haunting minor section from Mays, lifts off in a typical Methenian jubilant major melody, leading to a Maysian metric and harmonically-modulated interlude, creating suspense which is finally resolved in the Methenian major theme. Another popular highlight was "Last Train Home", a rhythmically relentless piece evoking the American Midwest. The 1989 release Letter from Home continued this approach, with the South American influence becoming even more prevalent in its bossa nova and samba rhythms.


Pat Metheny Group bassist Mark Egan
Pat Metheny Group bassist Mark Egan

Metheny then again delved into adventurous solo and band projects, and four years went by before the release of the next record for the next Pat Metheny Group. This was a live set recorded in Europe entitled The Road to You in 1993, and it featured tracks from the two Geffen studio albums alongside new tunes. By this stage, the group had integrated new instrumentation and technologies into its sound, including Mays' addition of midi-controlled synthesized sounds to acoustic piano solos, accomplished via a pedal control.

Mays and Metheny refer to the following three Pat Metheny Group releases as the triptych: We Live Here in 1995, Quartet, 1996, and Imaginary Day in 1997. Moving away from the Latin style which had dominated the releases of the previous decade, these albums were the most wide-ranging and least commercial Group releases, including experimentations with hip-hop drum loops, free-form improvisation on acoustic instruments, and symphonic signatures, blues and sonata schemes.


After another hiatus, the Pat Metheny Group re-emerged in 2002 with the release Speaking of Now, marking another change in direction through the addition of younger musicians. Joining the core players (Metheny, Mays and Rodby), were drummer Antonio Sanchez from Mexico City, trumpeter Cuong Vu from Vietnam and bassist, vocalist, guitarist, and percussionist Richard Bona from Cameroon.

Following the group's 2002 tour, Bona left to concentrate on his solo career, but appeared as one of two guest artists (the other being mallet cymbalist Dave Samuels) on the group's latest release, 2005's The Way Up, together with a new group member: Swiss-American harmonica player Grégoire Maret. The Way Up is a large-scale concept record which consists of a single 68 minute-long piece (split into four sections only for CD navigation). Metheny has said [4] that one of the inspirations for the labyrinthine piece was a reaction against a perceived trend for music requiring a short attention span and which lacks nuance and detail. Many of the textures in The Way Up are created from interlocking guitar lines -- Steve Reich is credited on the CD as an inspiration, along with Eberhard Weber, and there are large open sections for solo improvisation and group interplay. On the group's 2005 tour (when its lineup was supplemented by Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Nando Lauria), The Way Up was played in its entirety as the first half of the concert. The final performance of the piece was at a free show for more than a hundred thousand people at the close of the 2005 Montreal Jazz Festival.

Their latest album, The Way Up was released through Nonesuch Records. It is planned that all of Metheny's Geffen and Warner Bros. Records albums are to be rereleased on the label.[citation needed]

The Pat Metheny Group played at the Blue Note Tokyo in January 2009 in its core quartet of Lyle Mays, Steve Rodby and Antonio Sanchez. This quartet version of the group later toured the jazz festivals of Europe in the summer of 2010 as part of the "Songbook Tour". These concerts featured music from all eras of the group but no new material.


Current lineup

Past members

  • Mark Egan, 1977–1980 (bass)
  • Danny Gottlieb, 1977–1982 (drums)
  • Naná Vasconcelos, 1981–1982, 1986 (vocals, percussion), (died 2016)
  • Pedro Aznar, 1983–1985, 1989–1992 (vocals, percussion, bass, guitars, saxophone)
  • Paul Wertico, 1983–2001 (drums)
  • Armando Marçal, 1986–1996 (percussion)
  • David Blamires, 1986–1988, 1992–1997 (vocals, various instruments)
  • Faith Hendricksen, 1986–c. 1999 (Synclavier, backup vocals)
  • Mark Ledford, 1987–1988, 1992–1998 (vocals, various instruments), (died 2004)
  • Nando Lauria, 1988, 2005 (guitar, vocals, percussion and various instruments)
  • Phillip Hamilton, 1997–1998 (vocals, various instruments)
  • Jeff Haynes, 1997–1998 (percussion, vocals, various instruments)
  • Richard Bona, 2002–2005 (percussion, vocals, electric bass, acoustic guitar)
  • Cuong Vu, 2002–2005 (trumpet, vocals, percussion, guitar)
  • Grégoire Maret, 2005 (harmonica, vocals, percussion)



Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
Pat Metheny Group
  • Released: January, 1978[16]
  • Label: ECM
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[17]
American Garage
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: ECM
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[18]
  • Released: 1982
  • Label: ECM
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[19]
First Circle
  • Released: 1984
  • Label: ECM
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[20]
Still Life (Talking)
  • Released: 1987
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[21]
Letter from Home
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[23]
We Live Here
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[24]
102 45 83 23
  • Released: 1996
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[25]
121 70 187
Imaginary Day
  • Released: October 7, 1997[26]
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
  • Formats: CD, DVD-A, digital download[27]
104 51 124 59
Speaking of Now
  • Released: February 12, 2002[29]
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[30]
134 72 45 101 24 51 9 2
The Way Up
  • Released: January 25, 2005[32]
  • Label: Nonesuch Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[33]
117 61 34 99 29 40 11 1 68
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
  • Released: 1983
  • Label: ECM
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[35]
The Road to You
  • Released: 1993
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[36]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

Date of release Title Comment
2015 Essential Collection Last Train Home


Title Album details Peak chart positions
The Falcon and the Snowman
  • Released: 1985
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[37]
44 54 46
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Video albums

Title[citation needed] Album details
More Travels
We Live Here - Live in Japan
  • Released: 1995
  • Label: VideoArts Music
  • Formats: VHS, Laserdisc, DVD
Imaginary Day Live
  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Pioneer Artists
  • Formats: VHS, DVD
Speaking of Now Live
The Way Up - Live

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards
Year Category[citation needed] Nominated work Note
1983 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance Offramp Won
1984 Travels Won
1985 First Circle Won
1988 Still Life (Talking) Won
1990 Letter from Home Won
1994 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album The Road to You Won
1996 We Live Here Won
1999 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance "The Roots of Coincidence" Won
Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album Imaginary Day Won
2003 Speaking of Now Won
2005 The Way Up Won


  1. ^ All About Jazz. "A Fireside Chat with Pat Metheny". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  2. ^ [1] Archived March 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Top Pop Singles 1955–2008, 12 Edition (ISBN 0-89820-180-2)
  4. ^ [2] Archived March 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Chart Log UK: M - My Vitriol". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. " - Les charts français". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  7. ^ "パット・メセニーのアルバム売上ランキング – ORICON STYLE". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  8. ^ a b c "Pat Metheny Group | Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  9. ^ "Pat Metheny | Awards | AllMusic". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  10. ^ a b "Home - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. " - Swedish Charts Portal". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. " - Italian charts portal". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  13. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  14. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  15. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Dutch Charts -". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  16. ^ "Pat Metheny Group - Pat Metheny Group,Pat Metheny | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  17. ^ "Pat Metheny Group by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  18. ^ "American Garage by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  19. ^ "Offramp by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  20. ^ "First Circle by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  21. ^ "Still Life (Talking) by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  22. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  23. ^ "Letter from Home by Pat Metheny on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  24. ^ "We Live Here by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  25. ^ "Quartet by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  26. ^ "Imaginary Day - Pat Metheny Group,Pat Metheny | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  27. ^ "Imaginary Day by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  28. ^ "ZPAV :: Bestsellery i wyróżnienia - Wyróżnienia - Złote płyty CD - Archiwum". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  29. ^ "Speaking of Now - Pat Metheny,Pat Metheny Group | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  30. ^ "Speaking of Now by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  31. ^ "ZPAV :: Bestsellery i wyróżnienia - Wyróżnienia - Platynowe płyty CD - Archiwum". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  32. ^ "The Way Up - Pat Metheny,Pat Metheny Group | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  33. ^ "The Way Up by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  34. ^ "ZPAV :: Bestsellery i wyróżnienia - Wyróżnienia - Złote płyty CD - Archiwum". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  35. ^ "Travels by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  36. ^ "The Road to You (Live) by Pat Metheny on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.
  37. ^ "Falcon & the Snowman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Pat Metheny Group on iTunes". Retrieved 2016-05-15.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 July 2018, at 19:13
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