Pat Metheny's Unity Band

By JON GARELICK  |  July 27, 2012

CAN YOU TALK A BIT ABOUT THE FORM OF "COME AND SEE"? YOU MENTION THAT IT HAS A MIXED METER AND THAT THE FORM CAN BE PLAYED "SIMPLE OR COMPLEX." CAN YOU TALK MORE ABOUT THAT? There have been a bunch of tunes along the way where as I am writing them and I realize that what I am hearing involves meter changes, I kind of can't believe it — it just doesn't seem that complicated, but yet it kind of is when I actually go to write it out. I have seen a lot of really great players come to some of these tunes thinking they are quite a bit easier than they actually are. For me, I like it when something sounds simple even if it is complex. Actually, it is really much harder to play and write "simple" — good simple — than it is to do really complicated things. I can think of dozens of really good complicated guys out there . . . yet there are very few really good "simple" guys around — and I think that has always been the case.

YOU DESCRIBE "INTERVAL WALTZ" AS "PRETTY CHALLENGING HARMONICALLY IN WAYS I DIDN'T EXPECT"— HOW SO? There are a few resolutions in that tune that seem like they are going to go here, but wind up going there. It took a while for me to get comfortable on that one, but in a good way. Chris is just incredible on those kinds of tunes.

YOU TALK ABOUT 80/81 AS BEING THE OBVIOUS PRECURSOR TO THIS NEW SAXOPHONE-QUARTET RECORD – CAN YOU TALK AT ALL ABOUT HOW YOUR OWN PLAYING AND WRITING HAS CHANGED SINCE THEN? WHAT DO YOU DO ON THIS NEW ALBUM THAT NEVER WOULD HAVE OCCURRED TO YOU WITH 80/81. The main difference for me is that at the time I made those early records I was still in my early 20's — and I know so much more now about so many things than I did then. At that time I had only been a professional musician for about 10 years, now it is more than 40. And with that comes the stuff with the instrument; I have never really worried too much about guitar-y kinds of things, I just play ideas. But I have spent 30+ years on the road playing thousands of concerts in between and have access to so many more things now than I did then. I also enjoy it more now, I think, because I feel like I can really get to some stuff at will in ways that were still somewhat elusive then. But on the other hand, I don't feel that much different either. I listen to those early records and they still seem basically right to me. The whole thing has been about expansion for me. I know there are musicians who go through styles and periods the way a snake sheds skins. It has never been that way for me. I feel like I have a lot more to talk about now, but I can still play all the tunes from Bright Size Life and feel like the basic premise that was set up there is still viable and worth pursuing.

PAT METHENY UINITY BAND | Boarding House Park, 40 French St, Lowell | August 3 @ 7:30 pm | $55 | | Newport Jazz Festival, Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI | August 4 | $74 | or 800.745.3000

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