Pat Metheny to perform jazz show

by Kourtney Kawano | 11/12/14 5:31pm

Returning to Dartmouth after performing a solo concert in 2011, Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny will grace Spaulding Auditorium’s stage for a lively show on Saturday. This time, he will be leading and playing as a member of the Pat Metheny Unity Group, a five-man troupe consisting of Metheny, saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams and all-around performer Giulio Carmassi.

The performance is part of the group’s month-long tour for its 2014 album “Kin (<-->),” which was recently voted the jazz album of the year in the 79th Annual DownBeat Readers’ Poll. “Kin (<-->)” features nine tracks that redefine the sounds typically associated with Metheny as a solo jazz guitarist. Although most pieces are lengthy improvisations characteristic of jazz tunes, the Unity Group organized the sounds of each instrument not only to complement each other but also to give the songs a groove that cannot be defined by one genre of music.

The group’s members are not only incredible musicians, but also pioneers, Hopkins Center student relations advisor Ryan McWilliams ’14 said.

“They push boundaries in everything they do,” McWilliams said. “Audiences will hear a bit of everything: swing, fusion, rock, world music, you name it.”

“On Day One,” the first song on “Kin,” is approximately 15 minutes of Metheny’s traditional guitar playing with complementing saxophone and synthesizer sounds and elaborate improvisation. Contrasting the smoothness of the opening track, the song “Kin (<-->)” incorporates typical jazz sounds with electronic dance beats.

Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble flutist Leif Harder ’15 said he looks forward to seeing how Metheny performs with others in a live setting.

The group kicked off its tour on Nov. 11 with a performance in Burlington, Canada, before making its way to Hanover.

After Saturday’s performance, audience members can talk to Metheny before he leaves for Worchester, Massachusetts, the next stop of his tour, which ends on Dec. 7 in New York.

Three years after making his recording debut in 1974, Metheny experimented with playing in an ensemble and founded the Pat Metheny Group, with whom he won 11 Grammy Awards from 1983-2006 for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Best Contemporary Jazz Album and Best Rock Instrumental Performance. During this period, he also wrote film scores for award-winning movies such as “The Taste of Others” (2000) and “A Map of the World” (1999).

After a short hiatus from performing with the group, Metheny dabbled with the sounds of a quartet ensemble in 2012 and formed the Pat Metheny Unity Band with Potter, Sanchez and Williams. The band ultimately found success in the year after its inception, as Metheny won his 20th Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album with the group.

In 2013, Metheny was inducted into the DownBeat Hall of Fame, becoming the youngest musician to receive such an accolade. That same year, Carmassi joined the troupe, bringing with him a proficiency with multiple instruments, including the French horn and the vibraphone. The quartet was renamed to replace “band” with “group.”

Metheny is a great virtuoso who is “constantly reinventing his music,” Hop publicity coordinator Rebecca Bailey said.

The concert will begin at 8 p.m.

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