September 17, 1998 by Richard Pitnick for Monterey County Weekly
Few jazz musicians have garnered more widespread recognition or explored more diverse musical terrain than Pat Metheny, whose brilliant 1976 debut trio recording, Bright Size Life, heralded the emergence of one of contemporary jazz's most gifted composers and instrumentalists.
As leader of the eponymous Pat Metheny Group, and collaborator with such diverse musicians as Gary Burton, Charlie Haden, Joshua and Dewey Redman, Derek Bailey, Bruce Hornsby and Joni Mitchell, Metheny has reconfigured the entire spectrum of American musical styles--from mainstream and experimental jazz, to blues, folk, pop and rock 'n' roll--through a sensibility that is populist in appeal while remaining faithful to the essence of improvisational music.
With Sunday evening's debut of the Pat Metheny Trio, fans will have a rare opportunity to hear Metheny perform within a musical context that provides the best showcase and expression of Metheny's songwriting and instrumental gifts--his purity of tone and phrasing, his instinctive feel for melody within an improvisational context, and that haunting mix of romantic exuberance and wistful lyricism that seems to evoke the promise, hopes and dreams of the American spirit.
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