This story is featured in CityBeat's May 31 print edition.
Photo: Riccardo Altavilla/Wikimedia Commons
What if a legendary jazz performer invited up-and-comers to collaborate on a project that blended his new music with his classic songs, encouraging the youngsters to add fresh interpretations? That’s the thinking behind guitarist extraordinaire Pat Metheny’s 2021 Side Eye album, which features drummer Marcus Gilmore and keys wizard James Francies.
Since the album’s release, Metheny has toured with the Side-Eye project throughout the world, filling the seats behind kit and keys with an ever-changing pair of budding bandmates. This month he’ll bring this ingenious concept to Memorial Hall.
“I wanted to create an ongoing platform to host a rotating cast of the newer generations of musicians who have particularly caught my interest,” Metheny tells fans on his website. “The constant factor for me as a leader … is to draw on the strengths of the players I have with me at the time and to encourage everyone to do their best.”
This year’s supporting “cast” includes pianist/organist Chris Fishman and drummer Joe Dyson. The trio will perform Metheny classics like “Better Days Ahead” and “Have You Heard,” as well as music from Side-Eye, such as “It Starts When We Disappear.” Fans can also expect to hear his beloved closing number, “Are You Going with Me?”
Since he debuted in 1976 as a teen wunderkind with his first album, Bright Size Life
, Metheny has chalked up 20 Grammy Awards. He has continued to surprise — and even, at times, confound — his fans by taking long creative leaps, blending genres and employing new technology to reinvent himself. This approach, along with his generosity to young players and old fans alike, has kept him at the top of his musical game.
Pat Metheny plays Memorial Hall at 8 p.m. June 13. Info: memorialhallotr.com
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