Tuesday, Feb. 12 2013 4:07PM
Grammy No. 20
Pat Metheny’s ‘Unity Band’ awarded best instrumental jazz album
By Toriano Porter
That sign erected at the Amtrak train depot in downtown Lee’s Summit recognizing Pat Metheny as a 19-time Grammy award winner will need updating.
The Lee’s Summit-reared jazz guitarist captured Grammy No. 20 Feb. 10 in Los Angeles for quartet record “Unity Band,” which received the best instrumental jazz album designation. Not only has Metheny won 20 times at the gala, but he has garnered an astounding 36 nominations.
“It is always exciting but especially gratifying this time,” Metheny said of the latest Grammy win in an email exchange Feb. 11 with the Journal. “They recently reduced the amount of categories in the jazz field so there were literally 500 or so other records competing for those five slots, so just getting nominated is already a pretty big thing.”
In an interview with the Journal in January, Metheny said the concept of “Unity Band” derived from his upbringing in Lee’s Summit.
Pat Metheny Unity Band collaborators include Chris Potter, Ben Williams and Antonio Sanchez
“Having grown up in such close proximity to Unity Village was significant in my life,” Metheny said then. “Every Sunday night for decades, there were Unity Band concerts at the old amphitheater at Unity and our family attended them regularly. Eventually my brother started playing in the band as a teenager as I did too.
“The phrase ‘Unity Band’ sort of brings to my mind the whole idea of playing music out on a summer night in a really good way. That said, the band and the music played under the auspices of my Unity Band is really quite different other than that feeling of summer. It is an incredible group of very different musicians who have come together from a lot of different backgrounds to make a sound that hopefully does offer some sense of unity in a broader sense of the word to the world.”
As for the sign that adorns the train depot? The one that needs updating? Metheny said he and his family value the love shown by the hometown community.
“I appreciate the support from Lee’s Summit with the sign by the train station noting the number of Grammy wins and general recognition,” he said. “The kids get a real kick out of that when we visit – and me too.”