It’s difficult to think of life without Pat Metheny. For the last 45 years the jazz guitarist has been one of the most prominent musicians to have shaped the sonic landscape of the United States and, for that matter, the rest of the world.
And for San Diegans it’s difficult to think of life here without Peter Sprague. For as long as Metheny has been part of our musical consciousness, Sprague has similarly delighted San Diego audiences with his stellar performances.
And on the 11th of this month, Sprague pays tribute to Metheny with The Fields, the Sky, an online concert sure to charm Metheny fans, Sprague fans, and folks who just like great music.
Over the course of his career, Metheny has run the gamut from New Jazz and jazz-fusion to covering Beatles and other pop classics. “The whole idea of mixing jazz with a Midwestern twang, with a Jimmy Webb classic, with an Ornette Coleman interstellar space odyssey makes perfect sense to Pat Metheny, and that’s why we love his music,” says Sprague.
Sprague plans on including a number of his favorite Pat Metheny compositions, such as “Have You Heard,” “In Her Family,” and “Are You Going With Me.” The concert will include a Metheny favorite, the Jimmy Webb masterpiece “Wichita Lineman.”
As a guitarist, Peter Sprague has, like Metheny, been a genre jumper. Known mostly for jazz, a visit to his website will give you an idea of how far ranging his performances can be. Recently there was “Peter Sprague Plays the Beatles,” Peter Sprague Group Plays Bossa Nova,” Peter Sprague Plays Cream,” and a Tin Pan Alley meets Jimi Hendrix imagining called “Gershwin Cries Mary.” Sprague has had a long association with the local chamber ensemble Camarada. He has taught at the renowned Musicians Institute and California Institute of the Arts. And he has performed with lots of talented folks, most notably Chick Corea, and he toured with David Benoit.
Joining Sprague will be singer Rebecca Jade. With over 27 years of experience, the San Diego Music Award winner has toured with Sheila E and sang with Elton John. She has recorded with Sprague before, singing on the Cole Porter tribute CD Planet Cole Porter, which was awarded the Best Jazz Album of 2018 at the San Diego Music Awards. Jade will sing Randy Philips’s lyrics to some of Metheny’s originally instrumental compositions for the show.
An ever solid and immensely musical drummer, longtime Sprague collaborator Duncan Moore will be joining the ensemble. Moore is sought out for his taste and superb ability to support an ensemble or soloist. On bass will be Mackensie Leighton, whose roster of collaborations includes over a dozen bands and projects. Leighton is also a professor of music at California State San Marcos, where he teaches bass and the history of rock music. Rounding out the ensemble is John Opferkuch on piano. Known as one of southern California’s best jazz musicians, Opferkuch has previously recorded with Sprague, providing the keyboards to Sprague’s 2014 Ocean in Your Eyes.
A taste of Peter Sprague and Rebecca live streaming last July.
Because of the coronavirus, the concert will be online. The musicians will be busking for their pay. Instead of dropping a few bucks into a tip jar, viewers can compensate the band through PayPal, Zelle, and Venmo. If you’re less than savvy with the internet and apps, you can send good old-fashioned checks to the band. (Yes! Remember those things?) Sprague says of the online busking, “You folks have been super generous with this and it makes us happy.”
Peter Sprague plays Pat Metheney, Livestream concert, Thursday, February 11, 6:30pm.
For more information: petersprague.com