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Jazz "fusion" is a musical genre that loosely encompasses the merging of jazz with other styles, such as rock and soul. Vast improvisations based on these arrangements, rather than relying on the blues (the main ingredient of rock music), created the mold for the "fusion" style. Other defining characteristics of the "fusion" sound includes the use of electric instruments, loud volumes, rock textures and intricate ensemble compositions.
 
The exposure from these venues helped "fusion" gain new acceptance from the younger "Woodstock" generation of rock fans. By the 1970's, flourishing groups fronted by Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul (Weather Report), Chick Corea (Return To Forever), Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker (Dreams), were creating a diverse, musical culture.
 
During this period, jazz "fusion" became increasingly adventurous and innovative, melding the wild energy of rock with the technical proficiency of the most evolved jazz musicians. Jazz "fusion" often incorporated musical elements from across the world, such as Latin, African, Indian and Caribbean influences.
 

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The name Pat Metheny is known worldwide, with an almost religious following. He has a deep and profound respect for jazz music and the ever-evolving process of improvisation. One must look at the entire scope of this artist, either with the Pat Metheny Group or his solo projects, to fully understand the depth of his genius.
 

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"Listening is the key to everything good in music."
Pat Metheny

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Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, Steve Rodby, Antonio Sanchez

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The uniqueness of Offramp in comparison to earlier PMG recordings is the rhythm and multiple percussion layers. Featured for the first time is Pat's synthesized guitar. The track "Are You Going With Me?" would become one of the trademark compositions for the group. A medium tempo, multi-layered rhythm track, that serves as the basis for a series of nifty solos between Metheny and Lyle Mays. This album is a fusion masterpiece, inspiring both musically and emotionally to become the blueprint for many future PMG projects and recordings.
 
 

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Earlier Projects

Pat Metheny is one of the most important figures to emerge from the jazz/rock movement of the 1970's. His musical career began when he joined Gary Burton's band in the early seventies at the age of 19. By the time he was 30, Metheny had recorded numerous albums with his group, scored several movie soundtracks and earned three (3) Grammys. His group features the mellow, ethereal sound of his guitar, the lush keyboard stylings of Lyle Mays and the melodic, eclectic musical scores that have become his trademark.

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The Road to You - 1993

Pat Metheny stresses openness with this inspired, captivating "live" album. The primary focus is on his Brazilian-influenced material from Still Life (Talking) and Letter from Home, with outstanding versions of "Have You Heard" and "Better Days Ahead." The band and material is extremely "tight" with excellent sound reproduction for a "live" performance.
 
The standout track is “Half Life of Absolution.” It is a piece that evolves gradually out of abstraction into something that’s the closest thing the Pat Metheny Group has come to a progressive rock aesthetic.
 
 

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One Quiet Night is an album where Pat Metheny recorded his improvisations on a baritone guitar, offering new harmonic and melodic landscapes. This recording includes several originals, plus a cover of "Don't Know Why" (Norah Jones) and a timeless version of "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" (Gerry & the Pacemakers), revealing the true beauty of that song. The final result is an hour of quiet, reflective playing, offering total peace and enjoyment.

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Roland G-303 Guitar

 
 
If there is one model that has become the "gold standard" of guitar synthesizers, it is the Roland G-303.
 
Much of the popularity of the G-303 comes from Pat Metheny, who has played this guitar for over twenty years, always amazing audiences with the moving and emotional quality of the G-303 and GR-300 polyphonic synthesizer system.
 
Pat's unmistakable voice on the Roland GR300 synthesizer was introduced during the release of the 1982 "Offramp" album. The sound created demonstrates why the Roland synthesizer system may be the most expressive electronic instrument ever created.
 
 
 

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Lyle Mays

A longtime member of the Pat Metheny Group, keyboardist Lyle Mays collaborates in composition and provides arrangements, orchestration and most remarkably, the complex harmonic and metric backbone of the group's musical signature.

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Brad & Pat - Touring in 2007

I was fortunate to attend the Pat Metheny/Brad Mehldau Quartet concert at the Hummingbird Theatre in Toronto (4/9/07). Pat and Brad kicked off the concert as a duo, working through a set of original releases, that included a beautiful composition "Make Peace." The next set of songs added Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, opening with "A Night Away." The highlight was "Ring of Life" featuring a soaring guitar synthesizer solo by Metheny. Pat then brought out his 42-string "Pikasso" guitar to a duo effort with Mehldau on "The Sound of Water."

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My daughter Lauren accompanied her father to this concert...

Another Great Concert!

...Thursday was a different sort of evening, though. Pat Metheny was in town and he brought along two of the finest jazz musicians extant for company. For those fortunate souls filling the Mainstage Theater inside UB’s Center for the Arts, this was cause for release, celebration, wordless ecstasy. The show started with Metheny taking the stage on his own, delving immediately into an improvised bit of folk-jazz, a la his gorgeous “New Chautauqua” album, on an acoustic baritone guitar. He followed with a classical guitar piece from his album with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, “Make Peace.” (Excerpts from The Buffalo News)

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Other Notable Jazz Styles & Artists

During the 1950's, a music style originated in the wealthy neighborhoods along the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Such Brazilian musicians as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joćo Gilberto, were exposed to jazz records from the popular West Coast or "Cool Jazz" style. By the late 1950's, these musicians had blended elements of the Brazilian samba rhythm with the delicate and harmonic approach of the "Cool Jazz" sound, thus creating a charming and submissive "Bossa Nova" style.
 
In 1962, the "Bossa Nova" was introduced to America by guitarist Charlie Byrd, who toured Brazil and became fascinated with this sound. His recording of "Jazz Samba" with saxophonist Stan Getz, became an immediate success, creating the now popular "Bossa Nova" sound.
 
Today, artists such as Flora Purim, Jenny Chi, Carmen Cuesta-Loeb, Lori Bell, Andrea Brachfeld and Rebecca Kleinmann continue this legacy of sultry jazz.

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Getz/Gilberto, is an album by Stan Getz and Joćo Gilberto, featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim and released in 1963. This album created the "Bossa Nova" craze in the United States. It brought together saxophonist Stan Getz, who had already performed the genre on his LP Jazz Samba, Joćo Gilberto (who created the style) and Jobim, a celebrated Brazilian songwriter who wrote most of the songs in the album. It became one of the best selling jazz albums of all times and turned singer Astrud Gilberto, who sang on the tracks of "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Corcovado" into an international sensation.

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Carmen Cuesta-Loeb

Brian Auger
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The Godfather of Acid Jazz

 
Brian Auger is a jazz/rock keyboardist who has specialized in playing the Hammond "B3" Organ. He is considered to be one of the most influential keyboardists of all time. Auger has been a professional musician since 1963. He is credited with being one of the first "jazz fusion" artists, making it big in the jazz and rock worlds with his bands Steampacket, Brian Auger & the Trinity and the Oblivion Express. The new Oblivion Express (reformed in 1995) is currently touring with Brian's son (drums) and daughter (vocals).

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Michael Franks
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Art of Tea (1975)

An established performer during the late 1970's and early 1980's, Michael Franks enjoyed success with various albums, including the highly acclaimed Art of Tea which added him to a growing list of illustrious jazz musicians.

This album, with seminal musicians Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, David Sanborn and Michael Brecker, produced several outstanding songs, including "Eggplant" and the clever, albeit sexy lyrics, of "Popsicle Toes." His distinctive suave, sensual voice, along with an adept writing style, shaped a brilliant jazz career, embracing a style similar to the famous Joćo Gilberto.

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Gary Burton

Gary Burton was the first vibraphone player to create a new and original musical style. His extensive simultaneous use of four mallets gave him a less percussive sound, allowing him to develop more complex ideas in a manner usually available only to pianists and wind instruments.

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Pat Metheny - The Church (Buffalo, NY) June 17

On Saturday, June 17, 2006, Ani DiFranco’s Asbury Hall at "The Church" in Buffalo (NY) was christened with its first major music concert. The "Gary Burton Quartet" featuring Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Antonio Sanchez performed a stellar show that will not be duplicated. I was fortunate to attend this momentous event.

 

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Klaus Doldinger

Klaus Doldinger, best recognized for his outstanding work with the German group Passport, has collaborated over the years with a variety of talented musicians, combining various jazz fusion styles. I would highly recommend the 2000 release Passport Live which offers the discrete listener numerous lengthy tracks and spacious solos, creating a masterpiece of fusion sounds.
 
 

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Click Here for Rochester Jazz Festival

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The Rochester International Jazz Festival has become one of the nation’s most popular and respected music festivals. Founded in 2002, the festival is held within Rochester’s cultural district.
 
 

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Music is Life ..
 
 
 Life can be an endless desert ..
 
 Timeless fields of golden sands ..
 
 Heated by the sun, but cold in essence ..
 
 Still the desert does not leave me ..
 
 I am pathless with no way out ..

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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