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Legendary jazz guitarist opens 10th JZ Festival

CCTV.com

10-20-2014 19:27 BJT

It is the tenth anniversary of one of China's top jazz events, the JZ Festival in Shanghai. US guitarist and composer Pat Metheny opened the event with a two-and-a-half hour set, that featured music from spanning his 40-year career.

Metheny gave a free concert on Friday, ahead of the weekend event backed up by his new Unity Band project.

The first thing he brought on stage was one of his own invention, the Pikasso — a 42-string harp-guitar hybrid, his signature instrument since 1984.

"This ‘open for all’ program is a free-admission event — basically you don’t have to pay for the ticket, but you got to be very active and competitive applying for it online and over the radio. What do you think of this format on generating the public interest for the jazz event?" asked Mu Fangzhou, CCTV reporter.

US   guitarist and composer Pat Metheny opened the JZ Festival in Shanghai with a two-and-a-half hour set, spanning his 40-year career.

US guitarist and composer Pat Metheny opened the JZ Festival in Shanghai with a two-and-a-half hour set, spanning his 40-year career.

US Jazz legend Pat Metheny gave a free concert on Friday, ahead of the weekend event backed up   by his new "Unity Band" project.

US Jazz legend Pat Metheny gave a free concert on Friday, ahead of the weekend event backed up by his new "Unity Band" project.

Interview with Pat Metheny

Interview with Pat Metheny

"I think it's fantastic. It's such a great idea, you know, I hope it kind of catches on in other places, cause as time has gone on, tickets have gotten very expensive around the world," Metheny said.

"I've been listening to the album Kin, the debut album from Pat Metheny and Unity Band. It reminds me of early ECM recordings from you. And I read that playing with Unity Band was the first time that you play with a band lead by tenor saxophone since 1980, does this mean a comeback for you to a more traditional root of jazz sound?" asked Mu.

"For me, ‘unity’ is really a good word. Unity sort of implies connection, and my general approach to  music from the very beginning is that I sort of think of all of the records I made as one long record. With different chapters and different characters come and go," said Metheny.

"But the funny thing is that if you ask a Metheny fan what kind of music Pat plays, he would hesitate, as the notion of Jazz could be an umbrella too small for you. So what does pushing the boundaries mean to you if it's not meant to challenge the ears?" asked Mu.

"That was a great question, and it has some very interesting components to it. For me, the whole idea of descriptive terminology applied to music is almost always out of my jurisdiction. It's a cultural discussion and it changes from generation to generation," said Metheny.

Pat Metheny has become a hero to budding jazz and fusion guitarists worldwide, alongside other talents such as Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Jim Hall.

He has created his own signature sound and unique musical language, never an easy task for musicians. Metheny says his fundamental goal has always been not to sound like anyone else.

"I'm maybe the last generation of musicians where the whole idea of having the kind of individual stamp is like the number one priority," he said.

"Here's a quote from a previous interview with John Zorn: 'What I look for in musicians is a sense of infinity.' Define this infinity for us," said Mu.

"I'm really happy to play very simple, I have no problem with that, if that's the right answer to the question that the music is asking. An endless set of ways of thinking about whatever the musical event is at that moment," said Metheny.

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