Music Education Monday: Pat Metheny and John Scofield on improvisation


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Pat Metheny and John Scofield are two of the top guitarists and bandleaders in contemporary jazz, and today's Music Education Monday post features video sessions with each of them talking about their personal approaches to improvisation.

Both first came to prominence in the late 1970s, and both share a connection to Berklee School of Music, where Scofield studied as an undergraduate and Metheny once served as a teaching assistant to his mentor, vibraphonist Gary Burton.

Scofield first became widely known in the heyday of fusion as a member of the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band, and made a couple of recordings as a leader before joining Miles Davis' band for three years in the 1980s. That gig helped raise his profile significantly, and his subsequent mid-80s electric albums like Blue Matter and Loud Jazz cemented his status as a significant and popular voice on his instrument. More recently, Scofield has emphasized his funk and gospel influences on record and in concert, also forming a recurring partnership with the jam band trio Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Metheny, who grew up in Lee's Summit, MO near Kansas City, got his first significant exposure playing in Burton's quartet. After a couple of early solo recordings, he joined with keyboardist Lyle Mays to form the first edition of the Pat Metheny Group in 1978, enjoying immediate success with both jazz and rock audiences. That band continues, albeit with different personnel, into the present day, though Metheny also has been involved in many other projects, from the free-jazz influenced Song X project with Ornette Coleman in the 1980s to his solo Orchestrion tours of recent years.

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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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