2017 WICHITA JAZZ FESTIVAL ARTIST LINEUP
One of the nation's longest-running jazz festivals celebrates its 46th year with an expanded lineup of events, and a headlining performance by one of the most acclaimed and popular artists in contemporary jazz, guitarist Pat Metheny. For a complete listing of this year's events, proceed to our Upcoming Events page.
PAT METHENY with Matt Wilson and Martin Wind
PAT METHENY was born in Lee's Summit, MO on August 12, 1954 into a musical family. Starting on trumpet at the age of 8, Metheny switched to guitar at age 12. By the age of 15, he was working regularly with the best jazz musicians in Kansas City, receiving valuable on-the bandstand experience at an unusually young age. Metheny first burst onto the international jazz scene in 1974. Over the course of his three-year stint with vibraphone great Gary Burton, the young Missouri native already displayed his soon-to-become trademarked playing style, which blended the loose and flexible articulation customarily reserved for horn players with an advanced rhythmic and harmonic sensibility -a way of playing and improvising that was modern in conception but grounded deeply in the jazz tradition of melody, swing, and the blues. With the release of his first album, Bright Size Life (1975), he reinvented the traditional "jazz guitar" sound for a new generation of players. Throughout his career, Pat Metheny has continued to redefine the genre by utilizing new technology and constantly working to evolve the improvisational and sonic potential of his instrument.
Metheny's versatility is nearly without peer on any instrument. Over the years, he has performed with artists as diverse as Steve Reich to Ornette Coleman to Herbie Hancock to Jim Hall to Milton Nascimento to David Bowie. Metheny’s body of work includes compositions for solo guitar, small ensembles, electric and acoustic instruments, large orchestras, and ballet pieces and even the robotic instruments of his Orchestrion project, while always sidestepping the limits of any one genre.
As well as being an accomplished musician, Metheny has also participated in the academic arena as a music educator. At 18, he was the youngest teacher ever at the University of Miami. At 19, he became the youngest teacher ever at the Berklee College of Music, where he also received an honorary doctorate more than twenty years later (1996). He has also taught music workshops all over the world, from the Dutch Royal Conservatory to the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz to clinics in Asia and South America. He has also been a true musical pioneer in the realm of electronic music, and was one of the very first jazz musicians to treat the synthesizer as a serious musical instrument. Years before the invention of MIDI technology, Metheny was using the Synclavier as a composing tool. He also has been instrumental in the development of several new kinds of guitars such as the soprano acoustic guitar, the 42-string Pikasso guitar, Ibanez’s PM series jazz guitars, and a variety of other custom instruments.
It is one thing to attain popularity as a musician, but it is another to receive the kind of acclaim Metheny has garnered from critics and peers. Over the years, Metheny has won countless polls as "Best Jazz Guitarist" and awards, including three gold records for (Still Life) Talking, Letter from Home, and Secret Story. He has also won 20 Grammy Awards spread out over a variety of different categories including Best Rock Instrumental, Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Instrumental Composition at one point winning seven consecutive Grammies for seven consecutive albums. In 2015 he was inducted into the Downbeat Hall of Fame, becoming only the fourth guitarist to be included (along with Django Reinhardt, Charlie Chrisitan and Wes Montgomery) and it’s youngest member. Metheny has spent much of his life on tour, often doing more than 100 shows a year since becoming a bandleader in the 70’s. At the time of this writing, he continues to be one of the brightest stars of the jazz community, dedicating time to both his own projects and those of emerging artists and established veterans alike, helping them to reach their audience as well as realizing their own artistic visions.
THE KANDINSKY EFFECT
The Kandinsky Effect is a post-modern jazz Trio searching for new ways to improvise within the jazz idiom by blending the borders of jazz, rock, electronica, hip-hop, and experimental sounds to create a truly singular voice within instrumental music. Improvisation is ever-present, and spontaneity is paramount.
The band has been touring extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe over the last few years building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.
As the Los Angeles Times puts it : “The young Paris-based trio, The Kandinsky Effect, offers an invigorating approach to modern jazz and improvisation…”
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Deborah’s musical talents have propelled her from coast to coast in the USA, eventually leading her to Europe via Japan and Indonesia culminating in a 12 year residency in Europe.
Performing in night clubs, concerts, jazz festivals, on television and radio soundstages, Deborah has made a name for herself with appearances in more than 50 countries around the world.
Deborah Brown has 16 recordings as a leader and is featured on many others as a special guest artist.
Alaturka was formed in 2009 with the vision of creating an equal “auditory handshake” between two musical cultures, American jazz and Turkish classical music. Founder and director Beau Bledsoe joined with three of Kansas City’s most acclaimed jazz musicians, Rich Wheeler Brandon Draper and Jeff Harshbarger, to form a quartet in which both cultures are treated with equal respect. The collaboration has resulted in an intriguing new sound that has garnered the ensemble multiple invitations to perform throughout the U.S. and abroad. In 2013, Alaturka’s second recording, “Yalniz” (Tzigane Music) received 4.5 stars in Downbeat Magazine.