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Standing Pat

The legendary guitarist brings his Unity Band to San Diego.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pat Metheny was last in San Diego representing his massive, one-man-with-multiple-music-robots project, Orchestrion, at the Spreckles Theater, a large venue he regularly sells out.

    Now, though, Anthology, in a major promotional coup, has secured the services of the legendary jazz guitarist, who will be performing in two shows on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m..

    Fresh off a European tour, Metheny will be debuting his Unity Band in San Diego, a quartet featuring tenor saxophone master Chris Potter; Mexico City native, drummer Antonio Sanchez; and NYC bassist Ben Williams.

    Unity Band has a terrific new record out of the same name, and it's one of the 18-time Grammy-winning Metheny's finest efforts to emerge in years. The group has been stretching this material for months -- so this represents a prime opportunity to catch them live.

    "Metheny plays few if no clubs," Anthology CEO Howard Berkson said. "He said after his first appearance here that he's never seen or played such a beautiful, intimate club that has the equivalent of concert-hall acoustics and would definitely want to come back and play Anthology again when the time was right. So here we are three years later."

    The iconic guitarist has changed the way jazz is played, and his influence on the sound of the instrument is undeniable. Dozens of the music's top players have adopted his characteristic approach to one degree or another.

    Nobody does it like the man himself, though.

    I first saw Metheny in 1977, at the Back Door, on the SDSU campus. The tiny venue was a great place to catch him back in the days when his group was still touring in a Ford van leased from his father's dealership back in Missouri.

    In the ensuing years, Metheny has continued to challenge himself, and his audience, with consistently creative music that often strains against expectations. Throughout it all, he has retained his unique musical voice, which is instantly recognizable.

    Tickets range from $24 to $110 (for booth seats) and are selling fast. There are a few seats still available.  

     Robert Bush Robert Bush is a freelance jazz writer who has been exploring the San Diego improvised music scene for more than 30 years.