An accomplished guitarist and composer, Pat’s first recording as a leader “Blu Mulcru” (2006) was featured on Boston’s acclaimed WGBH public radio jazz program “Eric in the Evening”, where he was interviewed by host Eric Jackson (link here). The recording was also featured on WICN’s “Jazz New England,” as well as WMVY and WOMR. Of this recording, bassist Larry Grenadier (Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau) said “I was very impressed by it. The playing and writing is first class and the whole record has a great vibe." A finalist in the Eventide Songwriting Competition, Pat also was an early recipient of the Elaine Pear Cohen Award from the Falmouth Cultural.
Pat has over 30 years experience performing in multiple contexts, from recording sessions and festivals to weddings, and from cruise ships to theater guilds and local music haunts. He has organized concert series and events (The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, The Cotuit Center for the Arts), curated festivals (JazzFest Falmouth 2008/2009), and been a provider and band leader of multiple “custom ensembles” for private events of all kinds (Full Spectrum Music, from 1994- present). He has written and recorded jingles (link), and has been a sideman for many shows throughout New England, and the West Coast of Florida, playing about as broad a range of music as imaginable.
In his own words:
“I was born in upstate New York, and music was a huge part of my formative life. Indeed, even in utero, my biological mother (at age 16) played the piano. She gave me up for adoption, and my wonderful adoptive parents were musical as well, my mom a pianist/organist, my Dad a trumpet player. Both loved to sing, and in addition to immersing me in music as a young boy, they provided piano lessons for me beginning at 8 years of age. I switched to guitar in adolescence after listening to rock music on the radio forever altered my world view (and probably my DNA).
Unevolved and insensitive music educators drove me away from formal music education as I reached adolescence (I played the saxophone). I took up guitar and by 10th grade was playing heavy rock covers in a band that lasted for 2 busy (and hazily-remembered) years). I even dabbled in Musical Theatre in High School, opting for the part of Simon Zeaolots in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar rather than playing guitar in the pit, a decision for which I had many regrets.
In 1981, I attended a jazz guitar summer program at Ithaca College, where I applied and was accepted to begin studies in the fall. I enrolled as an undeclared major, but intended to become a music major. Self-work and political activism led to my ultimately majoring in Philosophy/Religion, although I took multiple course in music and participated in ensembles at the college as well. Being an ecologically concerned and sensitive person altered the course of my life. Music was centrally important to my very existence, and yet I lacked the self confidence, focus and discipline which I now see could have led to a more robust musical career. Nevertheless, music has always been a kind of savior and “home” for me, at both the levels of psycho-emotional well-being and also economically. Teaching and performing have always played a big part of my life. In 1987 in Ithaca New York, I formed a collective of musicians we called “Paradigm.” The instrumentation included guitar, keyboards, acoustic bass, drums, percussion, cello and saxophone, and vocals. Each member contributed compositions, and we played a few performances before circumstances led to us going our separate paths, in my case, to Boston. I often wonder what might have happened had we kept this interesting project moving forward. For my part, I felt that I needed to devote my “day job energy” toward ecological concerns, and that is what I did, although unforeseen circumstance would always lead me back to music.
In moved to Boston in 1988, but the job I moved there for (to organize for the not-for-profit “Mass Campaign to Clean Up Hazardous Wastes” did not work out. I subsequently got involved with various organizations working on the problem of tropical deforestation, which led me to discover an upcoming event at the Holisitic Adult Education Center called “Interface”, based in Watertown, MA. A “Save the Rainforest” event to benefit Cultural Survival among other organizations had music as a component, and not just any music, but a group which included Stan Strickland, Bob Moses, and Kai Ekhardt. In fact, this group also drew the interest of guitar superstar John McGlaughlin, who (after checking out the concert) hired Eckardt to become a member of his ensemble at the time. I got a job as a program planner at Interface, which allowed me to fuse my interests in progressive social change, ecology, music, and holistic thinking. I organized a brainchild 3 day event called “The New Imagination” to which I invited several of my cultural/intellectual heroes. The musical centerpiece of the event was a tip of the hat to the “Missa Gaia” or “earth mass” that had been performed annually at NY City’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine by the Paul Winter Consort. Incorporating the music nature, from the songs of whales and calls of wolves, into this earth-centered liturgy was views as blasphemous to some, and as healing and enlighten to others. I knew of this music through reading the works of William Irwin Thompson, a seminal and visionary thinker who was the conference’s keynote speaker. Jim Scott, guitarist and co-composer of much of the music for this mass, attended and performed for the event. (Link scanned article from Boston Phoenix)
The success of the event led to my being hired as an event planner and education director for New Alchemy Institute founders John and Nancy Todd for their latest organization “Ocean Arks International” (OAI). I moved to Cape Cod to begin the next chapter of my life, swept up by the synchronistic currents I had found myself in.
After nearly four years in which I devoted myself primarily to the work of ecological education, I found myself out of a job. OAI had run aground, their lack of funding and downsizing a result of mismanagement and (we learned later) embezzlement. I fell back on my “lifeboat”, and music private music lessons and some success in organizing jazz gigs locally became the means for my families economic (and my spiritual) survival. Over the course of years from 1994-1998 between 30-40 students per week of all ages would come to my home to study guitar or piano. In 1998 I earned a certificate in Music Education and got a full-time job in the public schools. In 2004, unhappy with teaching general music to middle schoolers, enduring marriage tumult, yet with my private music booking service thriving, I made the decision to leave the security of my tenured position in music education. I recorded a CD of all original music, and my career as a jazz musician appeared to be headed in the right direction.
I did not realize how difficult things were to become, because the economy radically changed, as did the culture. Moving forward, things tightened up and became much more difficult for musicians, due to the wartime economy and to other conditions. Live music was on a downward trajectory, as was the general musical literacy of the culture. Guitar began to fade from popular music, as did songwriting by artists. Formulaic and simplistic auto-tuned, quantized and forgettable songs replaced the passionate analog musical formulations I had been brought up with. By 2008 my business was down over 60% in just a few years’ time, and musicians everywhere were discovering that brides were increasingly hiring DJ’s over live bands (a trend that continues today). I discovered it was not so easy to get back into the public schools, and so I took a gig on a cruise ship in Hawaii.
Some of the concerts I have seen:
Bobby Sherman (1973)
Rush,with AC/DC opening (1978)
Boston (1979, 2017)
Alan Holdsworth (1983, 1978, 2014)
Joni Mitchell (1986)
Pat Metheny Group (1981, and many 30 other times since then)
Todd Rundgren/Alan Parsons/Anne Wilson/John Entwhistle
YoYo Ma Silk Road
Miles Davis (1983)