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Pat Metheny Unity Group in Concert Sunday, November 16 at Worcester's Hanover Theatre
Unity Group features Pat Metheny, Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez, Ben Williams and Giulio Carmassi
Last year, for the first time since 1980, guitarist Pat Metheny recorded with a band that highlighted tenor saxophone. Unity Band, which went on to win Metheny his 20th Grammy Award, featured Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and Ben Williams on bass. Now, Metheny has added another musician, multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi, and christened the ensemble Pat Metheny Unity Group. The Group’s first record, Kin (←→), was released by Nonesuch on February 4, 2014.
Metheny says of this new Group, “The core quartet of Chris, Ben, Antonio, and me played more than 100 concerts over the year that followed the release of our Unity Band record. Over the course of that period, the band became one of those rare combinations of players where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; it gelled in every way, and that just seemed to beg for expansion and further research.” He continues, “Simultaneously, I had been itching to write using more of a lush and orchestrated kind of concept that went beyond the sonic limits of what a straight-ahead quartet might invoke. But I really didn’t want to lose the energy, focus, and intensity of what this band had developed. I wanted to take it further. If the first Unity Band record was a thoughtful, black and white documentary of four musicians in a recording studio playing, this record is more like the Technicolor, IMAX version of what a band like this could be—but with that hardcore thing still sitting right in the middle of it all.”
Longtime Metheny group drummer Antonio Sanchez talks about the group on his website: http://www.antoniosanchez.net/. "This new group is a revamped and augmented version of the Unity Band which premiered in 2012 with Pat Metheny on guitars, Chris Potter on saxophones, Ben Williams on bass, myself on drums. The new addition in the Unity GROUP is Giulio Carmassi, an amazing mult-instrumentalist from Italy who plays piano, sings, plays woodwinds, trumpet and everything in between. The main difference is that the Unity Band was a basic jazz quartet with a mini Orchestrion featured on one cut of the album. On Kin (←→), the Orchestrion has been augmented in parts and size and is an integral part of the band and the compositions which makes it sound very full and lush but maintaining the versatility of the core quartet. Be sure to catch the show somewhere. It’s going to be truly unique."
The year 2013 was a banner one for PAT METHENY. After being awarded his 20th Grammy, for Unity Band and the release of his critically-acclaimed recording of Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20, Metheny received word that the readers of DownBeat Magazine had voted to induct him into its Hall of Fame. Not only is Metheny the youngest member, but he is also only the fourth jazz guitarist to be chosen for that honor, joining Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery.
2014 has been equally exciting. As Metheny says: "The Unity Band record and tour was life changing for me and I really wanted to find a way to keep it going and take it to the next level. One night, I woke up with the tantalizing idea of taking the concept of 'unity' even further. With this next project, I envisioned building a platform capable of addressing the entire spectrum of things I have done over the years, from Bright Size Life to Secret Story, from my Group projects to the Orchestrion and more all in one place." He continues: "With this incredible lineup of musicians--saxophonist Chris Potter, acoustic and electric bassist Ben Williams, drummer Antonio Sanchez and the addition of multi--instrumentalist--
Over the course of more than three decades, guitarist Pat Metheny has set himself apart from the jazz mainstream, expanding and blurring boundaries and musical styles. His record-setting body of work includes 20 Grammy Awards in 12 separate categories; a series of influential trio recordings; award-winning solo albums; scores for hit Hollywood motion pictures; and collaborations and duets with major artists such as Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, and many others. His band the Pat Metheny Group, founded in 1977, is the only ensemble in history to win Grammys for seven consecutive releases.