If you like jazz, you’re in for a treat when legendary guitarist Pat Metheny performs Friday night at the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall as part of the Arsht Center’s Jazz Roots series. The 20-time Grammy winner who hails from Missouri will be joined by a roster of all-star musicians who make up the Pat Metheny Unity Group. We talked to the multifaceted 59-year-old before the show.
What is your concert going to be like?
This is one of the strongest bands I have ever had. We made a record together a few years ago called Unity Band. It was really successful — winning the Grammy for best jazz record and lots of other awards. I wanted to keep it going and really integrate all of the aspects of music that I really love under one roof. The new record is called Kin (←→), and our live presentation is really exciting. At the core is this exceptional group of musicians, but I have also integrated the Orchestrion [musical robotics] in a way that I am excited about. We are also covering a huge range of things from all over my career.
Why, in your opinion, is jazz eternal?
I am not a huge fan of the whole idea of “genre” or styles of music. To me, music is one big thing. The musicians who I have admired the most are the ones who have a deep reservoir of knowledge and insight not just about music but about life in general and are able to illuminate the things that they love in sound.
How has the jazz scene changed?
I have always been kind of nonaligned within the community in general, so it is hard for me to say. I hang out and do projects with everyone across the board at different times, from the elder giants like Roy Haynes, to the generation immediately older than me, like Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Jack Dejohnette, to some of the younger guys like Josh Redman. To me, what has not changed is the commitment that we all have to try to have a deep relationship with the music. All the rest is just culture and politics, neither of which has much value compared to the currency of music itself.
Where do you find inspiration?
Music is intrinsically inspiring to me. I know there are musicians who look outside of music to find meaning and then bring it into their work, and I almost envy that. For me, it is all built into the sound. Everything I need is all right there.