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August 12: Happy Birthday Pat Metheny and Sam Fuller


We have had a number of greats of rock guitar as headliners in the past 12 months, so how about a jazz guitar legend.

Pat Metheny, who turns 63 today, grew up in Kansas City, and began to play guitar at 13.  By the time he was in his late teens, he was teaching music at the college level.  He began appearing on other musicians’ jazz albums around 1974 and released his debut album, Bright Size Life in 1976.  A year later Metheny got together with keyboardist Lyle Mays and a few other musicians to form the Pat Metheny Group; Metheny’s subsequent recording and performing career includes records released both under the Group’s name and his own.

Metheny has won 20 Grammys in his career; among winners who are exclusively or primarily jazz musicians, only Chick Corea has won more.  His wins have come in ten different categories, a Grammys record.  When someone has been recording for over 40 years, picking a single song to represent them is usually near to impossible.  However, this track, off of his first Grammy-winning album, is frequently mentioned as among his best:

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August 12: Happy Birthday Casey Affleck and Cecil B. DeMille


Casey Affleck was born this day in 1975 so he’s 41 today.  He started acting a little over 20 years ago, appearing in supporting roles in two Gus Van Sant films, To Die For and Good Will Hunting, and in Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy.  The latter two films saw him appearing with his older brother Ben.  During the “aughts,” he appeared in Ocean’s Eleven and its two sequels as Virgil Malloy, one of the Mormon brothers who are the wheelmen for Danny Ocean’s heist crew.

In 2007, Affleck was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for playing Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a critical success but not a commercial one.  In the same year, Affleck was cast as one of the leads in Gone Baby Gone (written and directed by his brother), adapted from one of Dennis Lehane’s novels about his working-class PI team of Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro.  As a big fan of Patrick and Angie, I didn’t like everything about the movie, but I did like Casey’s performance as Patrick Kenzie, filled with a quiet intensity that belies his boyish appearance:

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