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Pat Metheny Talks to Russ Davis

Jazz America’s Russ Davis with legendary guitarist Pat Metheny
Jazz America’s Russ Davis with legendary guitarist Pat Metheny
Legendary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny tells VOA he walked away from rock and roll as a young man after hearing a 1964 jazz recording of a Miles Davis concert.

Metheny, a 19 time Grammy Award winning musician, spoke with Jazz America host Russ Davis in New York about his new quartet the Unity Band, and the band’s eponymous album with Saxophonist Chris Potter, Bassist Ben Williams, and Drummer Antonio Sanchez.

“I can’t remember a time where I didn’t think I would be a musician” Metheny said “The Beatles were powerful and made me want to play the guitar.” But once he got a guitar, he turned his back on Rock & Roll and got interested in Jazz. “My brother brought home a record by Miles Davis called Four & More. Within about I would say eight seconds, I was gone forever. It was the greatest thing I had ever heard. To this day that record blows my mind exactly the same way,” Metheny said.

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Metheny told the Jazz America host that he would run home from school every day to listen to music and “put his head between the speakers.”

Jazz America fans were given a sample from Metheny’s new album Unity Band. “A good piece of music is universal, but at the same time, it’s specific to the instruments, it’s out of its time, but at the same time it’s timeless; it functions at every level…Jazz, when played well by those who have the capacity to conjure up those large kind of poetic moments, can be a mechanism to view the past and the future,” Metheny said.

The conversation also turned towards his perspective on vitality, jazz philosophy, and his jazz role models. Metheny directed Russ’s attention to his personal jazz hero Ray Haynes and his unabated curiosity. “Age doesn’t have to do with chronology; it has to do with spirit,” he said in response to Russ’ question about how he manages to be an old soul while remaining energetic.