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Celebrating Pat Metheny
Alternative Guitar Summit Philadelphia
“It is real honor for me to be selected as the honoree of this years Alternative Guitar Summit in the excellent series they have going to honor a living composer. I have watched with admiration as artistic director Joel Harrison has illuminated many of the exciting developments in our instrument across style and genre with an emphasis on creativity above all. I am really looking forward to this event and can’t wait to hear what everyone does with the tunes.” -Pat Metheny, Feb. 2017
Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to present Joel Harrison’s 7th annual Alternative Guitar Summit, coming to Philadelphia for the first time. A stunning all-star line-up of six-string masters will pay homage to Pat Metheny.
Founded and produced by Joel Harrison and Life Force Arts, the Alternative Guitar Summit is a yearly gathering of some of the most creative guitarists on Earth. This year’s line-up is the most ambitious to date. Each year the festival honors a living composer in their “While We’re Still Here” series, and 2017’s honoree is the tireless innovator Pat Metheny. Six fellow guitar wizards will perform 12 pieces from a newly-released book compiling 150 of the prolific Metheny’s compositions.
“We have had a handful of spectacularly able guitarists commandeer the jazz landscape in the past fifty years, but none of them has been as prodigious, ambitious, and capable as a composer than Metheny,” Harrison says. “He [built] his own worldview of what a jazz ensemble might be and virtually invented the idea of long form composition for an electric improvising ensemble. For me, foremost a composer, this is the legacy that more than any other aspect of his output inspires me.”
The line-up for this first-ever Philly installment of the Summit offers a wide-ranging overview of modern creative guitar: Nels Cline might be as close as the modern avant-garde gets to a household name; aside from his long tenure as a member of indie rock institution Wilco, he’s a pioneer of the Bay Area improvised music scene and continues to occupy the narrow space between pure sound and song, as exemplified by his longstanding Singers trio and his recent acclaimed Blue Note debut, the multi-hued mood music reimagining Lovers. Liberty Ellman is best known for his long tenure in Henry Threadgill’s groundbreaking ensemble, Zooid, and has worked with a host of stand-out creative artists including Vijay Iyer, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Lehman, Matana Roberts and John Zorn. Nir Felder, hailed as “the next big jazz guitarist” by NPR, has notched credits in bands led by Grammy winner Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jack DeJohnette, Joey DeFrancesco, Meshell Ndegeocello and others, and made his own leader debut in 2014 with the politically-charged Golden Age, which followed a year-long residency at New York’s 55 Bar.
Mike Moreno is a graduate of the Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, which boasts an impressive list of alumni that includes Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Eric Harland, Kendrick Scott and Beyoncé. Since moving to New York City to attend the New School University, Moreno has played with the Joshua Redman Electric Band, Lizz Wright, Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, among others, while releasing five acclaimed albums of his own, including last year’s gorgeous Lotus. Chilean-born singer and guitarist Camila Meza has forged an entrancing, distinctive sound by combining influences from Latin American and Brazilian music with the fusion-era jazz that introduced her to the music. Since arriving in New York seven years ago, Meza has become a member of Ryan Keberle’s band Catharsis and played or recorded with the likes of Fabian Almazan, Dave Douglas, Paquito D’Rivera and Tom Harrell. Along with being the founder of the Alternative Guitar Summit, Joel Harrison is renowned for his unique combination of influences, having explored country, rock, classical, gospel, and world music influences from Africa and Asia through his modern jazz lens. Past works include Harrison on Harrison, examining the music of George Harrison with Dave Liebman, Uri Caine, and David Binney; Free Country with Norah Jones, Binney, Gary Versace, and the septet Search with Donny McCaslin, Stephan Crump, and Dana Leong.
This six amazing guitarists will be joined by an equally awe-inspiring band of collaborators, including drummer Gerald Cleaver, the avant-jazz veteran who most recently shared a Philly stage with Nels Cline, Larry Ochs and the great Marshall Allen for a magical evening at Johnny Brenda’s; and two incredible bassists, Jorge Roeder (Gary Burton, Steve Lacy) and Philly’s own Chico Huff, a veteran who has worked with everyone from Terence Blanchard and Dr. John to James Taylor and Carly Simon.
“It has been exciting to watch the Alt Guitar Summit emerge as one of the most interesting and distinguished forums for our instrument on the planet,” says Metheny. “The work that Joel has done with this festival to showcase the development of the guitar and the expanded role that it has taken in music is a testament to the almost unlimited sonic dimensions the word ‘guitar’ can invoke in the imagination of musicians and fans alike.”
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. ANW informs, inspires, and challenges listeners to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation, and experimental music in contemporary culture. ANW events provide a forum for discourse, emergent trends in contemporary music, and unique forms of cultural exchange, while nurturing a diverse community for innovative music.