Salon Series: A Conversation with Pat Metheny
June 12, 2017
NYU Washington, DC and DC Jazz Fest presented Meet the Artist: featuring Pat Metheny. Pat Metheny is a renowned jazz guitarist and composer, earning both commercial success and a reputation as a sophisticated and respected guitar improvisor.
Jazz in the ‘Hoods® Presented by Events DC is a major feature of the DC Jazz Festival and unites DC in a citywide partnership and takes place in 21+ neighborhoods, presenting a mix of local and nationally recognized artists attracting large, varied audiences of DC residents and tourists of great diversity.
Special thanks to NYU Trustee Ronald Abramson and The Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation for generously supporting this program.
Meet the Artist: Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny reinvented the traditional "jazz guitar" sound for a new generation of players and has continued to re-define the genre throughout his career. Metheny's 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. He makes his debut appearance at the DC Jazz Festival® with a select group of musicians that he says “covers the widest range of everything I’ve done previously and… something beyond that.”
Joining the guitar legend this year will be his long-time drummer Antonio Sanchez, composer of the much-noted film score for the award-winning Birdman; bassist Linda May Han Oh, recently described on this tour as "forceful and graceful – a contradiction of elegance and pure physical power"; and British pianist Gwilym Simcock, one of the most exciting new pianists to emerge from the UK in many years.
“Pat Metheny represents our festival’s commitment to presenting jazz mastery and we are very excited about this Kennedy Center evening,” said DC JazzFest Artistic Director Willard Jenkins.
Metheny has won an astounding 20 GRAMMY awards in 12 different categories including Best Rock Instrumental, Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, and Best Instrumental Composition. The Pat Metheny Group won an unprecedented seven consecutive GRAMMIES for seven consecutive albums. Drummer Antonio Sanchez’s score for the Oscar-winning Alejandro González Iñárritu film Birdman was nominated for a Golden Globe and a 2016 GRAMMY, as well as dozens of other prizes around the world.
Meet the Moderator
Willard Jenkins is the Artistic Director of the DC Jazz Festival and has served in many capacities within the academic, arts, media and entertainment industries.
A graduate of Kent State University, he has served as a consultant, arts administrator, artistic director, writer, journalist, broadcaster, educator and oral historian. Willard has served as artistic director of the Tri-C JazzFest (Cleveland, OH), the BeanTown Jazz Festival (Boston, MA), Tribeca Performing Arts Center (New York, NY), and as artistic consultant to the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (MD), 651 Arts (Brooklyn, NY), Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall (New York, NY) and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC). As a jazz educator, he has taught history courses at Kent State University and Cleveland State University. He served as the executive director for the National Jazz Service Organization and as an administrator for Arts Midwest and the Great Lakes Arts Alliance. Willard is an experienced broadcaster having served as program host and producer at WPFW-FM (Washington, DC), WWOZ-FM (New Orleans, LA), KFAI-FM (Minneapolis, MN), XM Satellite Radio and BET. He is a skilled interviewer having conducted in-depth oral history interviews for the Smithsonian Institution, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and the Weeksville Heritage Center. Willard is the author of the 2010 book African Rhythms, the autobiography of NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston. In addition, he continues to be a prolific and sought-after writer and journalist, having contributed chapters to several books, written a series of how-to technical assistance books for the jazz community, and contributed articles to numerous local, national and international publications, including daily newspapers and periodic journals, and publishes the blog Independent Ear on his site: www.openskyjazz.com. He lives in Rockville, Maryland with his wife Suzan Jenkins, who serves as CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.
Since 2005, the DC Jazz Festival organization has provided enriching and entertaining jazz performances and programs that introduce students and adults from all walks of life to jazz, our nation’s singular original art form. The festival presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists, and provides enhanced exposure for the rich treasure trove of musicians from the Washington, DC area. Throughout the year, the DC Jazz Festival nourishes the community with free educational programs that extend our reach into undeserved communities and enhance the quality of life for DC public and charter school students.
The DC Jazz Festival is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 2004 with a mission to create, develop, implement, and support cultural and educational programs in Washington, DC through the presentation of concerts, festivals, symposia, workshops, master classes, lecture/demonstrations and other programs related to jazz, blues, Latin and world music.
The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists offers an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us.