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Pat Metheny: Hommage à Eberhard Weber

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During the 1980s, guitarist-composer Pat Metheny became one of the most popular jazz musicians alive by leading a band whose melodies and textures seemed tailor-made for the nighttime air of a sprawling amphitheater. In more recent years, his small-group tours have been more consistent and satisfying than most primetime rock acts could manage. And then there was Orchestrion, the solo album and marathon tour wherein the instruments accompanying Metheny were triggered by a hopelessly complex series of robots. His comfort with working on a large scale, not in the sense of ensemble size but in terms of conceptual ingenuity and exposure, is undeniable.

Metheny’s “Hommage,” the half-hour-plus performance at the center of this live tribute to Eberhard Weber, doesn’t feature any solenoids, but it does capture both the melodic gift and the boundary-pushing approach to the jazz concert that have defined the guitarist’s success. Of course, credit should be assigned in equal part to Weber, the trailblazing bassist and champion of European jazz who was sidelined by a stroke in 2007. Weber, now 75, and Metheny, 61, worked together at an early crux in the guitarist’s career, recording on two dates led by vibraphonist Gary Burton and on Metheny’s Watercolors, the 1977 LP that inaugurated his collaboration with Lyle Mays.

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