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San Diego jazz guitar icon Peter Sprague will be paying tribute to guitarist Pat Metheny Thursday night, August 23 at Tango Del Rey in Pacific Beach.

"Pat just had a birthday, and we're pulling our band together to play a night of his music in celebration," says Sprague. "Way back in 1975 I took a couple of lessons with Pat in Boston, and he's been my main man since. His guitar playing is off the Richter, his composing has influenced jazz in the biggest way, and his endless enthusiasm to continue to develop new music and artistic directions is a true inspiration. The cat does not stop and I love that about him."

Sprague's group features the cream-of-the-San Diego crop, including bassist Gunnar Biggs, drummer Duncan Moore, keyboard whiz Barnaby Finch and vocalist Leonard Patton.

"For this concert we're playing Pat's music with our own unique angle," Sprague said. "Many of the songs have lyrics to them with Leonard singing. Pat is probably my favorite contemporary composer! This is a great band and to live in Metheny's world is pure bliss."

Expect a non-stop two hour marathon set featuring Metheny pieces from across the spectrum, including "Minuano," "Lone Jack," "Travels," "Missouri Uncompromised," "Have You Heard," and "Are You Going With Me."

"The real challenge here is to suffer through the agony of eliminating songs that we love but can't fit in because of time constraints," says Sprague, in his weekly e-mail gig flier.

I discovered the music of Metheny and Sprague at the same time, around '76-'77, and was always struck by the way they both conjure up a true sense of joy in their music. When the legendary bassist Charlie Haden wanted Metheny to join his quartet in 1983, the guitarist declined, but recommended Sprague for the job. That group, with SDMA Lifetime Achievement Award winning pianist Mike Wofford, was short-lived, unrecorded, and totally off the charts.

Witness the Metheny/Sprague connection for yourself tomorrow night at Tango Del Rey. The concert begins at 7:30, and the place fills up fast.

Concert poster art by Conor Gilmore

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