Pat Metheny returns to Seoul for jazz festThe guitarist Pat Metheny is returning to Korea as the headliner for the 2003 JVC Jazz Festival Seoul. The two-day festival ― Dec. 12 and 13 at the Olympic Park performance hall ― will be the international festival’s first time in Asia. Several other acclaimed musicians, jazz guitarists in particular, are also on the bill.
The last time Mr. Metheny performed in Korea was with his sextet, the Pat Metheny Group. On the first night of the JVC festival, however, he will be performing solo, and then will close the evening with his newly minted Pat Metheny Trio, joined by Christian McBride on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums.
Since bursting onto the jazz scene in the ’70s, Mr. Metheny has just about reinvented the jazz guitar sound. If his recent performances worldwide are any indication, he will be including songs from his new album, “One Quiet Night.”
His next studio project will probably be with the trio, which is developing a reputation for raw improvisation during its live shows. The New York Times called a performance by the trio last month a “crowd-pleasing concoction that blends sounds and styles.”
The group will leave Korea on Dec. 13 to play at the Blue Note in Japan.
Opening for Mr. Metheny on Dec. 12 will be Nah Youn-sun, one of Korea’s top jazz singers. She was the first Asian to teach at CIM, a renowned jazz school in France, and was included in an album compiled by Buddha Bar, one of the hippest night spots in Paris.
Performing on the festival’s second night are Larry Carlton and the Sapphire Blues Band, Lee Ritenour and saxophonist Masato Honda. Carlton’s album, “Deep Into It,” was nominated for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album Grammy for this year. Ritenour made a name for himself with a melodic jazz guitar style. Honda will represent Japan’s jazz scene.
The JVC festival kicked off earlier this year in Florida with artists like Los Hombres Calientes, DJ Le Spam & the Spam Allstars and India Arie. The festival has also made stops in New York, Chicago, The Hague, Paris and Warsaw. Each time, the lineup has changed to include artists from B.B. King to Herbie Hancock, Cesaria Evora and Kenny Barron.
JVC took on the main sponsorship role of the annual series in 1984, using it as a kind of soft-sell for its consumer electronics products. Seoul is the festival’s first stop in Asia since JVC took over. While the choice between bringing the concert to Korea or Japan was difficult, the sponsors say they see Korea as a litmus test for the rest of Asia. “The Korean market may not be the largest in Asia,” says Kim Sang-gil, who does public relations for JVC, “but because of Korea’s IT early adopters, there’s a saying within JVC about new products: ‘If it makes it in Korea, it will make it worldwide.’”
by Joe Yong-hee
For more information, got to www.interpark.com, or call (02) 784-5118. Tickets are 40,000 won ($33.60) to 80,000 won.