Friday 5:05: Pat Metheny, “Phase Dance”

Updated Dec 15, 2012
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You gotta hand it to a guy who plays so hard he has to put his guitar in a clamp stand.

But that’s what Pat Metheny is doing here at the beginning of this video from 1977. That would have been the first year he ventured out on his own with the Pat Metheny Group, and the first year I saw him play, at Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas, for those who know what I’m talking about.

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Dozens of albums later, and too many Grammys to count, Metheny is still at it. Jazz purists scoffed for a while at his exuberant, Midwestern guitar lines, but his talent has outlived all his critics. The Gandolph-like creature on the keyboards, Lyle Mayes, has been a contributing factor, as have a series of the best percussionists in the business. If you’re interested check out this second video here:

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And listen to the drumming and keys to get a taste of just how much talent he’s been able to draw into The Group. If you’re unfamiliar with his work but like it, I recommend his middle period, albums like First Circle, We Live Here and Still Life (talking). I’ve got about 90 percent of everything he’s recorded and there’s not a mediocre album in the bunch.