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Unique members combine in Pat Metheny Unity Band

Campus Correspondent

Published: Friday, October 12, 2012

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

For the first time ever, jazz master Pat Metheny fuses with Unity Band, creating a guitar, sax, bass and drums quartet that delivers a smooth sound with a spicy flavor– quite a shift from Metheny’s usual, softer style. The group has spent the last several months touring the US and Europe, even releasing a self-titled album.

Unity Band is not the first of Pat Metheny’s side projects. As the leader of Pat Metheny Group since 1977, he has since joined many well-established jazz musicians on albums and tours, gaining a reputation as well-rounded and diverse. He is known for meshing together various styles through the guitar, both acoustic and electric; in turn, Pat Metheny’s music has been characterized as not solely jazz, but also jazz-fusion, contemporary, world, post-bop and Latin.

The EP “Pat Metheny Unity Band” features nine lengthy tracks, all of which appeal to the jazz enthusiast’s ear. If there is one thing the album accomplishes, it is musical diversity: a pure melting pot of sounds. From start to finish, listeners are drawn in, whether it is through the Latin-influenced guitar licks, whispery and feather-light drumming or melodic tenor sax. Highlights include “Roofdogs,” a five-minute, toe-tapping masterpiece; “New Year,” a mellow tune with a soft and sultry Latin vibe; and “Signals,” a smooth and percussion-based melody. Although complete with the necessary mellow jams, the album is far from sleepy or melancholy jazz. Rather, it is catchy and quite bold. The individuality of each musician surfaces on the project, creating a beautiful fusion of musical qualities. “Pat Metheny Unity Band” is the epitome of synchronization, represented perfectly by all four musicians.

The winner of 19 Grammy awards, Metheny’s electric/acoustic guitar skills shine throughout the entire album, blending effortlessly with the talents of Ben Williams (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums) and Chris Potter (tenor sax). When asked about the story behind the band’s name, Metheny reflected on the original goals of their formation, and connected them to meaning of unity. In a recent interview, he explained: “This band is a real manifestation of that spirit. We are using all of the unique qualities available to us as individuals and as an ensemble and, we hope, creating a greater whole to make something true to itself.”

Pat Metheny Unity Band will be debuting at the Jorgensen Theater at UConn on Saturday evening. This much – anticipated show is sure to impress any jazz music fans and all quality music aficionados.

 

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