Guitar hero: Grammy winner Pat Metheny to jam with Unity Group in Ann Arbor on March 10Written by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Infinite potential — that’s what Pat Metheny feels when he’s holding a guitar.
“If you say the word ‘guitar’ to 50 people, they will get 50 different images in their minds,” the jazz guitarist wrote in an email interview with Toledo Free Press. “To me, it is attractive because it is so undefined.”
Since his 1976 debut, “Bright Size Life,” the artist has reinvented the instrument. His sonic creativity and sizzling string work have won both fans and countless honors.
In 2013, readers of Downbeat magazine voted to induct Metheny into its Hall of Fame. He is the youngest member and only the fourth guitarist, joining Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian.
“Guitars, for me, are like screwdrivers are for a handyman. They are tools, and I have different ones for different uses,” Metheny wrote from a tour stop in San Francisco.
For his latest project, the composer assembled an amazing lineup: saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Antonio Sanchez.
Metheny won his 20th Grammy Award last year for “Unity Band,” an instrumental jazz quartet album.
“This is such a special group of musicians. From the first notes we played together in early 2012, through the recording and then all the touring that we did to follow, there was an instant connection that seemed to go beyond the usual kind of thing,” he wrote.
“We had such a great time together and the consistency of the playing was at a super high level, and we seemed to always get to something night after night.”
Known as the Pat Metheny Unity Group, the four decided to make another disc.
“We all wanted to keep it going, and my sense of it was that we had only scratched the surface of what it might be. My instinct was to push it to be something else, but that something else could have the benefits of all the playing we had already done together as a place to build from and expand outward from,” Metheny wrote.
Joining the fun was multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi.
“To do what I wanted to do, I knew I likely had to expand the palette by adding another musician. However, I didn’t want to alter the incredible dynamic of the core quartet. What I really needed was a good musician who could play a lot of parts,” Metheny wrote.
On “Kin,” released last month, Carmassi plays piano, trumpet, French horn, flute, alto sax, recorder, vibraphone and trombone; he also sings and whistles.
“As I have described a few times, if the first ‘Unity Band’ record was kind of like a black-and-white documentary type record, this is the IMAX 3-D version of the band,” he wrote.
The Pat Metheny Unity Group will bring that colorful sound to the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor at 8 p.m. March 10. Tickets are $39.50-$49.50.
“Playing live is the final destination and the reason I became a musician. Everything leads to that,” Metheny wrote.
Tags: 20th Grammy Award, bassist Ben Williams and drummer Antonio Sanchez, Downbeat magazine, guitar, Hall of Fame, jazz guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi, Pat Metheny, saxophonist Chris Potter