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Catching Up With

Pat Metheny: Pulling It All Together

By Published: August 20, 2012
PM: Whenever I compose it has been kind of the same for decades; an acoustic piano, a guitar and a computer. I sort of am throwing things around between the three languages and looking for the best result I can get from whatever the initial idea suggests. In a setting like this that is slightly more guitar-intensive, a guitar trio might be another, I might lean slightly more on the guitar aspect of things, but often just the opposite works great too. The main thing I would say is that I write a large quantity of stuff to choose from. For every tune that winds up being on a record I usually have written four or five others that didn't make the cut for one reason or another. Sometimes they are useful for other things but mostly they just go into the heap of unrecorded tunes that I have laying around.

AAJ: What will the live sets for this band consist of?

PM: We are focusing on the music from the record for now, but we do have more than 100 sets to play together over the course of our tour. I have been foraging through all the old tunes finding ones that I thought would be a good fit for the band and also provide some contrast to the kinds of things that are on the record. We have even dipped into some of the 80/81 material.

AAJ: Assuming it will not be another 30 years before a saxophonist features this prominently on a Pat Metheny project, which reedmen might you be interested in recording or working with?

PM: What is interesting about getting older is the realization that whoever that person may be, he or she may not even be on the planet yet! Talent is an amazing thing and someone really great can appear quite suddenly. I am always on the lookout for people who can really play and can tell me things that I hadn't thought about before.

AAJ: The Unity Band tour dates currently take you well into autumn. What is on the horizon for you after that?

PM: There will be a soundtrack album to the Orchestrion (Nonesuch, 2010) Project film that will be out next year, which is a great wrap up to all the events of that really unique project. After that, stay tuned!

Selected Discography

Pat Metheny, Unity Band (Nonesuch, 2012)

Pat Metheny, Orchestrion (Nonsuch, 2010)

Pat Metheny/Christian McBride/Antonio Sanchez, Tokyo Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2008)

Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman, Song X: Twentieth Anniversary (Nonesuch, 2005)

Pat Metheny Group, The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005)

Pat Metheny, 80/81 (ECM, 1980)

Photo Credits

Pages 1: Jimmy Katz

Pages 3, 4: Lisardo Francisco Maggipinto

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