The Unity Sessions is taken from a filmed performance with Pat Metheny Unity Group—Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, Antonio Sanchez on drums, Ben Williams on bass, and multi-instrumentalist Giulio Carmassi—first released on DVD in 2015. The set comprises 13 songs by Metheny, one he co-wrote with Ornette Coleman, and one well known standard by Ray Noble. The Times of London exclaims: "It's brilliant."
The Unity Sessions, released May 6, 2016, on Nonesuch Records, is taken from a filmed performance with Pat Metheny Unity Group that was released on DVD in 2015; the set comprises 13 songs by Metheny, one he co-wrote with Ornette Coleman, and one well known standard by Ray Noble.
In 2013, for the first time since 1980, Metheny recorded with a band that highlighted tenor saxophone. The resulting Unity Band, which went on to win him his 20th Grammy Award, featured Chris Potter on sax and bass clarinet, longtime collaborator Antonio Sanchez on drums, and Ben Williams on bass. Metheny then took that same ensemble into new territory with the addition of his Orchestrion and a focus on more through-composed material and christened the ensemble Pat Metheny Unity Group. The Group's first record, Kin (←→), was released by Nonesuch in 2014 and was named the best jazz album of the year in the DownBeat Readers Poll Awards. The Group went on a world tour of more than 150 cities; at the end, they hunkered down in a small Manhattan theater to film new performances of music from the original Unity Band, the expansive Kin(←→), and touchstones from the entirety of Metheny's music catalog. The results were released on DVD last year as The Unity Sessions, and now Nonesuch releases the album of the same name.
Over the course of more than three decades, guitarist Pat Metheny has set himself apart from the jazz mainstream, expanding and blurring boundaries and musical styles. His record-setting body of work includes 20 Grammy Awards in 12 separate categories; a series of influential trio recordings; award-winning solo albums; scores for hit Hollywood motion pictures; and collaborations and duets with major artists like Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, Charlie Haden, Brad Mehldau, and many others. His band the Pat Metheny Group, founded in 1977, is the only ensemble in history to win Grammys for seven consecutive releases.
Produced by Pat Metheny
Co-Produced by Steve Rodby
Recorded by Pete Karam and David Oakes at the 52nd St. Project, New York, NY
Mixed by Pete Karam
Mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound, New York, NY
Guitar Tech: Carolyn Chrzan
Orchestrion Tech and Monitors: Austin Stillwell
Drum Tech: Teo Stoll
Tour Production Manager: Chris Culpepper
Tour Managers: John Nave, Dana Watson (Europe), Jerry Wortman (NYC)
Artist Management: Ted Kurland & David Sholemson for the Kurland Agency
All music composed and arranged by Pat Metheny, except "Police People," composed by Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny, and "Cherokee," composed by Ray Noble
Antonio Sanchez plays Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals and sticks, Remo drumheads, LP percussion and Cympad fets exclusively; Chris Potter plays Rico Jazz Select reeds. Ben Williams appears courtesy of Concord Jazz.
THE UNITY SESSIONS Film
Produced and Edited by Steve Rodby
Executive Producers: Ted Kurland and Pat Metheny
Associate Producer: David Sholemson
Director: Matthew Beighley
Director of Photography: Robbie Stauder
Steadicam Operator: Matthew Fleischmann
Camera Operators: Robbie Stauder, Andy Bowley, Matthew Beighley
Assistant Steadicam Operator: Mike Drucker
Production Assistants: Kyle Joyce, Reece Mussman
Lighting & Production Design: Marc Janowitz – E26 Design
Lighting Director: Benjamin Silverstein
Assistant Lighting Director: Zach Sternberg
Venue Management: Tim Lord
Catering: Jack Monkey Catering
Lighting Vendor: Christie Lights – Chris McMeen
Pat Metheny, electric and acoustic guitars, guitar synth, electronics, orchestrionics
Chris Potter, tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet, flute, guitar
Antonio Sanchez, drums and cajon
Ben Williams, acoustic and electric basses
Giulio Carmassi, piano, flugelhorn, whistling, synth, vocals