New Zealand Listener

Unchained melodies

For more than 45 years, over as many albums and 20 Grammy awards, 65-year-old Pat Metheny established himself as the pre-eminent guitarist of his generation. That he’s not a household name isn’t just down to his chosen idiom – he’s nominally a jazz musician – but because he hasn’t made it easy for audiences.

In his catalogue are sublime and commercially successful albums – notably as the Pat Metheny Group with keyboard player/co-composer Lyle Mays – but also the mid-80s Song X with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, described by UK critic Richard Williams as “practically unlistenable”.

There’s the solo outing of guitar noise of 1994, acclaimed by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth as “the most radical recording of this decade … searing, soothing twisted shards of action guitar/thought process”.

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