Pat Metheny & Brad Mehldau

Carling Academy, Glasgow, Fri 29 Jun

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GLASGOW JAZZ FESTIVAL

The collaboration between guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau was one of the hottest jazz developments of last year, and the initial duo album they released figured prominently in many best of the year lists. The follow up record, which featured a quartet with Mehldau’s regular rhythm partners, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, took the process a stage further, with even more impressive results.

Scottish fans will now get their first opportunity to hear the group live in this Glasgow Jazz Festival concert. On the face of it, it is tempting to see this as a grafting on of a major name soloist to Mehldau’s well-established trio, but the pianist sees it in more organic terms.

‘I see this as very much a quartet, not a trio plus Pat. Once we made the decision between Pat and myself that it was going to be Larry and Jeff, we weren’t thinking about Pat as an addition to my trio. Because Pat’s musical presence is so strong, he was going to tear out this new territory and create a whole new entity between the four of us, and as a result we were also going to change the way we played and interacted together.’

Metheny acknowledged that he did initially wonder how he would fit his own voice into the unit, but draws parallels with situations he has confronted earlier in his career, citing joining Gary Burton’s band or collaborating with Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden as prime examples.

‘I had to find a place for me within those situations, and it was a similar situation here. Playing with guys like these is a kind of diving board spring mechanism that launches you off into that golden territory, and I definitely experience that in incredibly large doses playing with them.’

It will be fascinating to see how they stretch and transform the refined and sophisticated approach they brought to the music on both discs in a live context.

(Kenny Mathieson)

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