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Pat Metheny’s Canadian (and Victoria) Connection

August 24, 2011 Comments off

Linda Manzer in her Toronto workshop (photo by Nigel Dickson)

Pat Metheny may have more fans around the world than just about any other living jazz artist. What a lot of people don’t know is that his incredible acoustic sound heard on albums such as Beyond the Missouri Sky is the product not only of his fine playing but also the work of Linda Manzer, a world-renowned Canadian guitar builder. In fact, since 1982, she’s built over 20 guitars for Pat (including the amazing 42-string Pikasso).

In November I had the pleasure of traveling first to Toronto to record an interview with Linda and then on to New York to meet with Pat in his home studio in Manhattan, the first steps in creating Kindred Spirits:Linda Manzer’s 30-year Journey with Pat Metheny, a documentary I produced for CBC Radio 2′s Inside the Music.

The one-hour program aired for the first time this month and is now archived on the CBC website. (You can also get to it via Pat’s website or Linda’s as they both have links up.

It’s an amazing story about two incredibly creative people and their unique musical collaboration. And it has a bit of a Victoria angle.

In 1978, Linda Manzer, who at that time was working for Jean Larrivee, came to Victoria

Pat Metheny with the Pikasso guitar

when Larrivee moved his guitar factory here. She stayed only six months, deciding to return to Toronto and strike out on her own, but while here –as you’ll learn in the documentary – she purchased an old table saw at a local flea market. That’s the only table saw she’s ever owned and it was used to help produce all those great guitars for Metheny and a host of other artists including Bruce Cockburn, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Simon, and Liona Boyd.

The documentary is filled with Pat’s wonderful music and offers an inside look at one of the most productive and creative relationships in music history. Have a listen – I think you’ll enjoy it.

Categories: Profiles
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