If you’ve ever hung out backstage at a jazz festival, you know that jazz musicians are always telling one another, “We should get together sometime and play.” It’s a friendly gesture, and it’s usually tied to a vague feeling that, hey, it would be nice to make a record or do some shows with that person. Only rarely, though, does it lead to anything concrete.
Pat Metheny has often heard and said the same thing, but when the guitarist exchanged that wish with Brad Mehldau, he knew it needed to actually happen. It wasn’t just that he admired the young pianist’s playing-Metheny admires many musicians that he’ll never get around to collaborating with. It was more that he sensed that he and Mehldau were wrestling with the same problems and could help each other come up with some solutions.