In October I saw Pat Metheny and Larry Grenadier at the Blue Note. It was one of the most exciting musical performances I’ve heard in my life. Now Pat is en route to Winter Park, Florida, where he’ll making two public appearances at Rollins College this week under the auspices of the Winter Park Institute.
It happens that I’m in the middle of my annual stint in Winter Park, so I’m going to lead a public conversation on Wednesday in which Pat talks about his life and work. We’ll be joined by the bass guitarist Chuck Archard, who is an artist-in-residence at Rollins. Then Pat and Larry will give a concert at Rollins the following night.
I’ve known Pat for a number of years–I profiled him for Time back in 2001–and he’s one of the most interesting talkers I’ve had occasion to interview. Here’s something he said to me eleven years ago that has stuck in my mind ever since:
Metheny shuns labels for his polystylistic music–particularly fusion, a term he feels has “nothing but negative connotations”–preferring to describe it as jazz, pure and simple. “Jazz is the all-inclusive form,” he explains. “There’s room for everybody, for anything of true musical substance. Jazz guys like Duke Ellington or Miles Davis have always transformed the elements of the pop culture that surrounds us into something more sophisticated and hipper. It’s their job.”
I expect he’ll have similarly pithy things to say when we get together on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s event takes place at Tiedtke Concert Hall and starts at 7:30. For more information, go here.
Thursday’s concert takes place at the Alfond Sports Center and starts at 7:30. For more information, go here.