Jazz at the Center
Tribute to Pat Metheny
Music & Arts Community Center
2020-2021 Season Sponsor: Gunterberg Charitable Foundation – Culliton Family
Paul Gavin, Drums
Brandon Robertson, Bass
Stu Shelton, Piano
LaRue Nickelson, Guitar
Pat Hernly, Percussion
Like all great things in jazz, tonight’s set list will be improvised.
PAT METHENY was born in Kansas City 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 re-define the genre by utilizing new technology and constantly working to evolve the improvisational and sonic potential of his instrument. METHENY’S versatility is almost 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, with settings ranging from modern jazz to rock to classical.
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 has also 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-100 jazz guitar, and a variety of other custom instruments. He took the whole instrument development process into a different level with his mechanical, solenoid driven Orchestrion.
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 in 12 different categories including Best Rock Instrumental, Best Contemporary Jazz Recording, Best Jazz Instrumental Solo, Best Instrumental Composition. The Pat Metheny Group won an unprecedented seven consecutive Grammies for seven consecutive albums. Metheny has spent most of his life on tour, averaging between 120-240 shows a year since 1974. 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.
Gulf Coast Jazz Collective
Paul Gavin is a Drummer, Teacher, Composer & Arranger in Tampa, FL. Paul has played regularly with great musicians in the Tampa bay area including trumpet player James Suggs, singer Gloria West, and bassist Michael Ross. He also plays regularly in the Fort Myers area with trumpet player Dan Miller, guitarist Dan Heck, bassist Brandon Robertson, and the Stardust Memories Big Band.
After almost 4 years of supporting others’ musical projects Paul is now focusing on building his own. Paul currently has two bands. The Vanguard plays his original music, and Mosaic plays the music of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers.
Paul has received honors for his musicianship as well. In 2013 he was one of the inners of the VSA International Young Soloist Competition and flying out to Washington DC to play with members of the Airmen of Note at the Kennedy Center on the Millennium Stage. In the same year he also won the Downbeat Student award for a collaboration with flutist and composer Jose Valentino. Most recently Paul won a grant from the Young Artists Awards in Fort Myers, FL which will fund the creation of his debut album of his original music.
Brandon L. Robertson is an EMMY® nominated director and notable Upright/Electric Bassist originally from Tampa, FL.
In 2009, he graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a focus on Jazz Studies. In the same year, Brandon became a member of the popular Florida-based jazz trio The Zach Bartholomew Trio. In 2012, the trio released their first album entitled “Out of This Town”, which received notable reviews from jazz critics. In 2015, Brandon performed at the world-famous Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club in New York City with the nationally recognized FSU Jazz Sextet joining members of the JALC Orchestra.
Aside from being an active musician, Brandon is also an advocate in Jazz/Music Education. Brandon has presented jazz clinics, workshops, masterclasses, and guest performances in schools K-12 throughout Florida and taught at the Florida State University Summer Jazz Camps for Middle school and High school students. In the Spring of 2016, he earned his Master of Music in Jazz Performance at Florida State University. During this two-year period, he directed jazz ensembles, small jazz combos, taught various music-related courses at the University each semester, and performed with traveling national acts visiting the campus. He was also a faculty member of Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College School of Music in Tifton, GA where he taught applied bass and helped assist with the jazz ensemble.
Jazz pianist STU SHELTON has been a resident of Southwest Florida since 1989 and has entertained thousands of people in the area. He prides himself on the ability to play left-handed acoustic bass sound, while at the same time playing right-handed piano with an unparalleled musical fluency that absolutely speaks for itself. STU SHELTON is well known among those who enjoy genuine jazz and has a devoted following of fans who enjoy his performances at venues throughout the area.
LaRue Nickelson is a jazz guitarist and composer from the Tampa Bay area. He has had a varied and diverse music career with many different groups. LaRue has played in New York, Italy, South Africa, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Montreux, and California as well as staying very busy doing festivals and clubs in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Orlando, and Sarasota, Florida areas. LaRue has performed with Rich Perry, Peter Erskine, Jeff Berlin, Ira Sullivan, Ingrid Jensen, Don Braden, Rufus Reid, Sheila Jordan, Hank Marr, David Leibman, Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, Chick Corea, Conrad Herwig, Robbie Ameen, Giovanni Hildalgo, Gary Versace, Walt Weiskopf, Frank Foster, Mike Maineri, Adam Nusbaum, Steve Davis, Marcos Cavalcante, Patrick Bettison, Eric Darius, Mike MacArthur, Bobby Floyd, Paquito D’rivera. He has also recorded with Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, The Michael Ross Quartet, Greenwich Blue, Shawn Ashby, Kristen Lomholt, Mark Gould, and Cory Christiansen. As well as recording and performing, LaRue is also a composer with more than 40 compositions to his credit, many of which have appeared on recordings by Greenwich Blue, The Michael Ross Quartet, and his own projects. His has released two solo projects, titled Dark Water and Labyrinthitis featuring his original compositions. His current band performs his many of his original compositions, and the members are Jeremy Powell on saxophone, Joe Porter on bass, and Ian Goodman on drums. Recently, he has completed recording projects with Tom Brantley, Jeremy Douglas, Chuck Owen’s tribute to Michael Brecker, Tom Carabasi featuring the music of Patrick Bettison, and a duo album with Jeremy Powell. He also has written for two Mel Bay anthologies. He is the jazz guitar instructor at the University of South Florida and currently resides in Tampa, FL with his beautiful wife, Joy, and his slightly less attractive cats, Kilgore Trout and Hodor.
Patrick Hernly is a drummer/percussionist whose unique personal style has been shaped by his work with artists from around the globe. His performances include many prestigious venues in the U.S. and abroad, including Lincoln Center, Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), and the Hollywood Bowl. Patrick was featured at the Nokia New Years 2006 celebration in Mumbai, India, with Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman, as well as a soloist on Rahman’s 2007 “3rd Dimension” tour. He has toured Latin America with La Orquesta Sinfonica de Guayaquil and the Lima Ballet, and has performed with Latin pop sensation Anais and Grammy Award winners Fonseca and Tanvi Shah. He has also performed in the Tampa Bay area with The Spanish Lyric Theater, world music/Latin jazz ensemble Manigua, Afro Cuban artist Freddy Montes, flamenco troupe Somos, and soul-funk-reggae band The Hip Abduction. Patrick has also shared the stage with such stars as mridangam maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Latin greats Jon Santos and Horacio Hernandez, and percussion gurus Glen Velez and Bob Becker. Patrick earned his Master’s degree in percussion performance from Indiana University, where he was awarded the performer’s certificate. He earned his Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of South Florida under the advisement of multicultural music education expert C. Victor Fung. His research has been published in national and international journals, and he has presented at national and international conferences.