Pat Metheny Unity Group

Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank NJ - Sunday, 3/23/14 - 8:00PM

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By Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.
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The Pat Metheny Unity Group, returned to a sold-out crowd of long time fans at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ, Sunday, March 23rd. The Unity group featured Metheny on acoustic guitars, bassist Ben Williams on bass, Antonio Sanchez on drums, Chris Potter on saxophone and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Giulio Carmassi.

To the audience’s surprise and delight, Metheny arrived on stage 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the show, performing a 5 minute meditative solo on his Pikasso guitar. Shortly thereafter, the band joined in with a Jazz fusion explosion of human-played and automated instruments. Metheny brought his grand wall of “Orchestrion”. His guitar controls a multitude of percussion instruments, bottles with blowers on them that sounded like wood flutes, xylophone, bells, piano, guitar and bass.

Metheny announced that the group would attempt something they had only done very rarely – “playing the new album “Kin” in its entirety”. For 2 ½ hours with no intermission, Metheny gave us his trademark melodies and mind-blowing chord changes and harmonies, while the band wrapped in their own rhythms and melodic rifts that sounded as if they music was coming from many different cultures from around the world. Sanchez was so fluid and precise on the drums, Potter rocked the tenor sax/bass clarinet/flute/soprano sax, and Williams was exceptionally solid on the bass.

Metheny played duets with each member of his group. The mood of the set continually changed with Metheny easing into a ballad with Williams, then firing off some fast-fingered solos alongside Potter’s saxophone. Sanchez had his moment to shine when he played an extended solo during a version of "James," one of Metheny's most beloved compositions.

Pat played some fan favorites and featured each member of the group several times throughout the concert. Each band member has extraordinary talent and they were all demonstrated at this concert. We enjoyed every moment!

More photos from the performance are in Ben Johnson's photo gallery by clicking here Click Here

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Karen Brundage-Johnson, PhD.