Trippin' Out

Pat Metheny finds himself at home on the road.

November 7, 2002 by John Kreicbergs for The Pitch


Stylistic definitions in music are typically more concrete in their exceptions than in their rules. Attempts to characterize a genre, especially one as diverse and colorful as jazz, are usually met with an endless stream of addendums or derision. Taking this semantic argument a step further, guitar pioneer Pat Metheny is hesitant to go too far in classifying his own instrument.

"When you say guitar, that could mean anything from a classical guitarist playing completely unamplified to Korn playing with fifteen stacks of Marshalls per guy," muses Metheny, enjoying a monthlong respite between a recent tour through Asia and his upcoming run of U.S. dates. "One of the things I love about the instrument is that nobody knows quite what it means. It can be almost anything."

That opportunity to explore has proven to be the perfect counterpart to Metheny's equally infinite sense of curiosity. From his watershed 1976 debut, Bright Size Life, to his latest release, Speaking of Now, the Kansas City-born fusion guitarist has played a crucial role in shaping the sound of modern jazz.

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