Happy Birthday Pat Metheny

August 12, 1954

Cantalope Island

Guitarist Pat Metheny was born August 12, 1954 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

The younger brother of trumpeter Mike Metheny, Pat began playing guitar when he was eight or nine due to his initial interest in the Beatles.

After a few weeks, he discovered Miles Davis and jazz with his early guitar influences being Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.

While attending the University of Miami in 1972, he met Jaco Pastorius and became the school’s youngest instructor when he was just 18.

Moving to New York, Metheny made his recording debut with Paul Bley, was a member of Gary Burton’s group during 1974-77, and in 1975 met keyboardist Lyle Mays who during the next 30 years was a significant member of the Pat Metheny Group.

The guitarist made his first album as a leader Bright Size Life in 1975, formed the Pat Metheny Group in 1977, and developed a very original sound and style that included his mastery of the guitar synthesizer; his music, which was sometimes called fusion, was really beyond any category and was open to the inspirations of World Music, rock, folk, Brazilian, and Americana while always being jazz.

In addition to his work with his very popular band (which lasted until around 2005), Metheny has had projects that teamed him with such greats as Dewey Redman, Michael Brecker, Jim Hall, Dave Holland, Charlie Haden, Roy Haynes, Derek Bailey, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Joshua Redman, Abbey Lincoln, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Ornette Coleman.

He has also led other groups (including Unity) and in 2010 with his Orchestrion project, Metheny was able to perform as a type of one-man band, triggering other instruments with his guitar.

Pat Metheny is featured playing “Cantalope Island” with its composer, Herbie Hancock.

-Scott Yanow