Written by Michael Pittman
ImageThe new album is called Kin and comprised the bulk of the 2nd half of the show. If you’ve never seen Pat Metheny or even if you have you know he’s a complex musician and artist who is constantly evolving, yet somehow magically manages to maintain the gravity of his guitar as central to his musical montage.

The Kin album artwork in all its evolutionary stages was featured in New York’s Azart gallery’s inaugural show in early February. The Many Faces of Kin can be seen at (www.azartgallerynyc.com/artwork). I bring this up because Methenys’ album artwork always closely allies the visual with the sonic.

“From the very beginning of my career, the album artwork of each project has an important place in the overall identity of every recording,” says Metheny. “I have always felt a kind of resonance with an aesthetic that imposes the juxtaposition of differing colors and textures in close proximity, since to me that is often a core element of the music that I have made.”

Colors and textures fire Metheny’s guitar playing..obviously. They did for tonight’s over 2 ½ hour performance to a capacity seated House of Blues crowd. There were two encores, with the concert ending as it had begun with Pat alone on stage playing seductively simple acoustic guitar solos.

On stage was Metheny’s wall of Orchestrion instruments all controlled by his guitar, which included various percussion instruments, bottles with blowers, xylophones, bells, wood flutes, pianos which taken together made the 5 piece band take the dimensions of orchestral accompaniment.

In case you were wondering, that was the Pikasso guitar made by Linda Manzer on the first song. An amazing instrument which Methany played masterfully. See a closeup of the guitar here (http://www.manzer.com/guitars/index.php/see-who-plays-manzer-guitars?id=15).

As much as the second half of the show was about the new record, the first half was a collection of Methany must-haves from prior records. A piece might last a mesmerizing 10-15 minutes, shifting in movements and time signatures, ripping guitar solos and sax solos to astound even the hardest core jazz junkies.

For the jazz junkies among us, this was the show of the year and one that will be remembered for years.

ImageI will have to say I was mildly disappointed to find out Lyle Mays wasn’t on the tour because I remember seeing him with the 1 o’clock jazz band at North Texas State. Ok, so that was a looong time ago but he and Metheny have been close collaborators for years.

But having said that, I was never let down by the band. I have one word to describe each of these players. Monsters. Ben Williams played the upright as fast and easily as a Fender, spotlighted in at least 2 huge solos. He was as energetic and firey as Methany himself.

Antonio Sanchez on drums couldn’t have been a better fit for the intricate, technical melodies he was tasked with punctuating. A total master of the drums and also featured in at least two solos.

Chris Potter, a veteran with the depth and width of a true musical genius, whose list of credits reads more like a history of jazz than a list of accomplishments. His ability to harmonize with Methanys’ blazing fingerwork was nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Guilio Carmassi came on during the last half of the show as a multi-instrumentalist, but focusing mainly on piano. His vocals added a sort of mystical flavor in spots. He joined the Unity group for the recording of Kin playing piano, trumpet, trombone, vibes, cello, clarinet, flute, voice and saxophone.

If you enjoy jazz, or even can appreciate the level of musicianship abundantly evident on a Metheny stage, make sure to catch his show at some point. I’ll see you there.

Pat Metheny – Guitar
Chris Potter – Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet, Guitar
Ben Williams – Bass
Antonio Sanchez – Drums
Giulio Carmassi – Keyboards/Vocals


Solo Pikasso
Come and See
New Year

Rise Up
On Day One

Pat/Ben Duet
Pat/Chris Duet
Pat/Giulio Duet
Pat/Antonio Duet

Sign of the Season
Have You Heard

Solo encore