So what is Jazz? I can ask 100 different people that same question and get 100 different answers. Since everyone has their own definition of what Jazz is (and since I am not a Jazz guru), I wanted to discover what kind of Jazz fan I would be. After a little research, it turns out that I listen to Jazz or Jazz influenced music a lot more than I thought I did.
Being a 80s/90s kid, I was heavily into Pop, House, R&B and Hip-Hop. So I was surprised to see that some of the artists I listened to were Jazz artists or had some Jazz influence in their music. From Jamiroquai to A Tribe Called Quest, I listened to some kind of Jazz on a daily basis, Jamiroquai being “Acid Jazz” and A Tribe Called Quest known for their unique approach to rap music using “Jazz infused sound scapes”. Let’s not forget Kenny G! He was heavily on rotation in the 80s. As I got older and started art school, I started listening to other kinds of music to help with my creative process and it so happened to be Jazz! You can find Coltrane, Stan Getz and Ella Fitzgerald on my playlist.
Working at the Chandler Center for the Arts has given me the opportunity to see many different artists that I would not normally have been exposed to including the Pat Metheny Unity Group who will be here this Sunday, February 23 at 7pm. Pat Metheny is a 20 time Grammy Award winner and has performed with many diverse artists such as Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Hancock and David Bowie. His body of work includes compositions for solo guitar, small ensembles, electric and acoustic instruments, large orchestras, and ballet pieces, with settings ranging from modern jazz to rock to classical.
In 2013, for the first time in 30 years, Metheny recorded with a band that highlighted tenor saxophone for the album “Unity Band,” which won him his most recent Grammy. In the album, Chris Potter is on the sax and bass clarinet with longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums and Ben Williams on bass. Antonio Sanchez is a powerhouse to watch; he is a three time Grammy Award winner and is one of the most in-demand drummers on the international jazz scene and Ben Williams crosses easily between straight-ahead funk and gospel influenced jazz. Metheny also added a fifth musician to the group, Giulio Carmassi. He is a Multi-Instrumentalist, Producer, Arranger and Film Composer with more than 1,000,000 views on YouTube. Together they are a Jazz force known as the Pat Metheny Unity Group.
So whether you’re a Jazz Guru or a Jazz Newbie like me, you definitely won’t want to miss this super talented group. I can’t wait to see them!