50 Years, 53 albums, 38 Grammy nominations and 20 wins would describe some of the achievements of the career of guitar legend Pat Metheny. Metheny played at UCLA's Royce Hall in Westwood, CA Sunday night (10/29). Metheny played a solo show and by the end was a one man band. Metheny walked out onstage and following his Phase Dance medley took the mic and mentioned how he’s talked more than he has in the last 50 years. Metheny shared stories of how he picked up electric guitar after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 and before that he was a third generation trumpet player. Metheny also shared that it was the Miles Davis live album Four & More Recorded Live in Concert released that same year. Metheny talked about Davis’s drummer Tony Williams and his ride playing. It was this album that led to him being a Jazz musician and picking up a semi hollow-body Gibson.
Metheny played at least 10 guitars including acoustic, baritone, electric, and semi-hollow body electric. Metheny also played one iconic guitar in particular the 42-string Pikasso guitar built by luthier Linda Manzer who has been building guitars for Metheny for around 40 years. Following Metheny playing solo for two-hours the curtain behind opened and unveiled a mix of percussion items that were self-played like an old fashioned music box. Metheny would also make use of a loop pedal with different guitars. Throughout the show there two objects covered and Metheny pulled the covers off unveiling two more guitars on a stand. By the end of the show there were 10 guitars on stage. Metheny played a set including “Song for the Boys,” “Message to a Friend,” “La Crosse” and The Beatles “And I Love Her.”
At the age of 18 Metheny made history as the youngest teacher at University of Miami and again at Berklee School of Music where he would receive an honorary doctorate in 1996.
Metheny released his debut album Bright Size Life in 1975 and would forever change Jazz guitar playing. Metheny’s Grammy wins include Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Instrumental Composition, Best Rock Instrumental, and Best Contemporary Jazz Recording.
Metheny would be inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame in 2015 becoming the fourth guitarist and youngest inductee.