Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Pat Metheny Group: Have You Heard

I am getting a late start today as I wanted to preface this particular post with the previous two posts that reference Harry Abraham. Pat Metheny was one of the artists that I initially discovered by listening to Harry’s show on WHAM in the mid 1970s. If you don’t know the name Pat Metheny, I am sure you have heard his music as it is often featured on the Weather Channel during the local forecasts.

Originally with Gary Burton’s band, Pat branched out on his own, and his second ECM LP was my first – it was titled “Watercolors.” There is something about the guitar sound of Metheny that makes it different – I can’t explain it, but it is a unique tone. With that said, I had difficulty finding a live piece on You Tube that captured the classic Metheny sound.

Although today’s feature tune was from the 1989 release of "Letter from Home," is akin to sound of the band in its earlier phases. There is one notable addition and this is the vocal of Pedro Aznar that doubles the guitar lines. Aznar uses his voice as an instrument and it works well here in the context of this song.

Here's another live version of the same song.

With many of the later recordings, Metheny used a guitar synthesizer and keyboardist Lyle Mays had moved from his primary use of the piano to other keyboard instruments. Not that this evolution in their music was bad, the sound that first attracted me to Metheny’s music is often absent - replaced by something different, but equally as good. Hopefully, this listen of the Pat Metheny Group will cause you to discover more than the 45 second bumpers found on the Weather Channel.

Here's an interview with Pat on the Today Show along with a performance of "Letter from Home."

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