published by Hal Leonard/Backbeat (November 2009).

In this series of intimate, in-depth interviews…
Metheny reveals why he was driven towards music with a stratospheric drive and dedication.
•You’ll view the inner workings of Metheny’s creative mind, seeing step-by-step how he developed his concept – how he set and achieved each of his own demanding goals.
•Metheny describes his methodology as a guitarist, improviser and composer.
•TRANSCRIPTIONS: Metheny demonstrates his concepts and methodologies on the guitar during these interviews. Niles has transcribed these unique musical performances for the book.
•Includes contributions from some of Metheny’s closest colleagues, including Lyle Mays, Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette, John Patitucci, Mike Metheny, and the late Michael Brecker.
•Includes numerous photographs from Metheny’s private collection
Inventory #HL 00332851    ISBN: 1423474694    UPC: 884088393243     220 pages

Read an excerpt from the book with ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY at TheScreamOnline at home in 1969

Excerpts from reviews

Whether revealing his philosophical views or his approach to composition and improvisation, Metheny is candid and informative. For anyone with an interest in contemporary jazz music, this book offers fresh insight into the creative process of one of its leading practitioners.      Charles Alexander, JAZZWISE

An insightful, provocative and often downright moving examination of Metheny’s musical ethos. This is a wonderful book for any reader who has spent a significant amount of time thinking about, writing about, listening to, or performing music. Niles manages to get behind the readily apparent virtuosity and complexity of Metheny’s music, in the process making his subject comfortable enough to share his personal metaphysics—the motivating factors behind that musicianship… A deceptively easy and quick read, “The Pat Metheny Interviews” offers insights that remain long after you’ve finished the last page.          Jeff Miers – JAZZ GUITAR BLOG

 “I am LOVING your Pat Metheny book, it is simply wonderful, and so inspirational, great stuff!”   Julia Fordham – acclaimed singer/songwriter

 Limpid, lucid, fluid, flowing, open, optimistic: you could apply these words to both Pat Metheny’s music and this book, a series of interviews by Dr Richard Niles, a gently humorous man whose strong work ethic has been rewarded with worldwide success in more than one genre. Niles’s banter gets the best out of his old friend. If you’re interested in music and ideas for a better future this book will help. If you’re already converted to Pat Metheny then it’s essential.
Mark Ramsden, JAZZ JOURNAL

 Accompanied by musical examples, transcribed by the author, the book goes beyond the usual biographical and guitar specific material that is normally found in a Metheny interview. It is a chance for musicians and non-musicians alike to learn more about the artistic process that fuels this legendary guitarist, composer and bandleader.
Mathew Warnock, Guitar International

Read the interview with Richard Niles in GUITAR INTERNATIONAL:

 “I really enjoyed it… Your writing is as wonderful as your music… required reading”. Roger H. Brown – President, BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC

Of particular interest to guitarists are Pat’s playing concepts and guitar methodologies, transcribed and shared extensively for the first time. A must-read for any budding guitar virtuoso interested in carving out a career in instrumental music of any genre.

The subtitle states it’s “the inner workings of his creativity revealed,” and for the most part, the book delivers. And since it’s not structured nor does it read like a standard musician bio or treatise, it’s a surprisingly easy read, without sacrificing detail for brevity… Niles himself has built a strong career as a performer, recording artist, producer, songwriter, composer and arranger, author and educator, and his long-time friendship with Metheny (the two met as young jazz cats at Berklee) as well as his deep understanding of both jazz and music (and musicians) in general allow this book to go beyond the usual biographical and guitar-specific wankery that is normally found in interviews of guitar heroes. “The Pat Metheny Interviews” is a good read for for musicians and non-musicians alike to learn more about the artistic process that fuels this legendary guitarist, composer and bandleader
Ed Murray,

 Unlike typical presentations of interviews—edited and spliced for better flow in print, these interviews seem to be simply transcriptions, warts and all, coming across as one imagines Metheny responding to Niles’ provocative questions. Thus the master’s words have the intimacy of a conversation among colleagues rather than the polish of a journal article.
Neither as complete as a biography or as self serving as a testimonial, The Pat Metheny Interviews offers a unique approach to the effort to get inside the head and heart of an artist who truly changed his medium. Added value—scores of black and white photos of Metheny performing as a youngster through current tours and discography.
Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor,

Richard Niles’ 150-page book delves deep into the guitarist’s impressive career and his philosophy of music. It contains many nuggets of inspiration, including Metheny quotations such as, “The only listener I know anything about is myself. I have absolutely no sense of how anybody else perceives anything. I just try to play for the listener inside me.
Peter Hum, Vancouver Sun

With the unique perspective of a fellow guitarist and long-time friend, Richard Niles captures the essence of Pat Metheny’s creative evolution, process, and work ethic in a collection of conversations culled from a three-part BBC radio series.
Eric Jensen – Recommended Reading

This book on Hometown hero Pat Metheny does it right…The book is much like spending a couple of hours in conversation with the guitarist, exactly as it should be, and there are some gems along the way, such as this one: ‘I just try to play for the listener inside me.’      Joe Klopus, Kansas City Star

 Fortunately, a hometown hero who has found a market for his music around the world has inspired a good new book… it does its job well and presents a great deal of information about the guitarist and how his mind works… Niles has known Metheny since the mid-1970s, and he knows what questions to ask. The responses he gets are smart, funny and revealing.
Niles has gained access to some historic photographs, such as a teenage Metheny performing with Gary Sivils at the Ramada Inn in 1971. He has talked to trumpeter Mike Metheny, Pat’s brother, and to some Metheny colleagues including Lyle Mays and Gary Burton. He has done pretty much everything right. People will still be learning from Metheny’s music for many more decades. And they can learn a lot about why it matters from this book.     California Chronicle

A proverbial eavesdropping on a conversation between two long-time friends and musicians, The Pat Metheny Interviews, is an insightfully revealing dialogue between American jazz guitarist and composer, Pat Metheny, and Richard Niles, a renowned recording artist, composer, producer and songwriter.
Richard Niles first met Pat Metheny at Berklee College of Music in 1974. It’s hard to imagine that Metheny would take the time and discuss his thoughts on his long career with anyone other than a close friend, given his admitted self-criticism and intense working schedule. As a reader, and a fan from the beginning, I am glad he did…
Informal in tone, the question and answer format is easy to follow, even when it gets into discussions of abstract concepts. There are a few sections of musician lingo and music theory references that only musicians might appreciate. One of my personal favorite passages comes from the chapter on melody, wherein there is a discussion of the biological and physical responses to music…
An engaging examination of an enduring musical artist, The Pat Metheny Interviews, is a unique gift of insights from this expressive guitarist and composer.  Theresa Rolfe Kravtin from

Dr Richard Niles’ new book “The Pat Metheny Interviews” stands out significantly from other similar books on famous jazz musicians by focusing primarily on what drives Metheny’s endless search for musical fulfillment (as one of the most influential jazz artists to emerge from the latter part of the twentieth century) rather than just being a simple biography or collection of transcriptions. It provides a refreshingly personal insight into Metheny’s approach both as a player and composer and is drawn from a series of interviews conducted by Niles with Metheny. The bonus of the included musical examples will greatly appeal to other musicians seeking more of Metheny’s ‘thinking’. However the book also has much to offer non-musicians. I found the book both enjoyable to read and highly informative. I only wish there had been more to read! Thoroughly recommended…
Professor Peter Sklaroff – Head of Jazz, Leeds College of Music

“I have tremendously enjoyed your Pat Metheny book, and will retain many of it’s cognitions for years to come. It is a valuable contribution and has been a source of inspiration. What a wonderful accomplishment and contribution. Bravo, amico…” Professor Richard Smith – Chair, Studio/Jazz Guitar Department, USC

Dr. Richard Niles has written a terrific, in depth musical biography, based on his personal interviews with one of the jazz world’s most gifted and influential guitarists, Pat Metheny.  Author Niles’ close friendship with Metheny has allowed him to interview and relate in explicit style and with extreme accuracy the focused and compelling journey that has made Pat Metheny one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. This is a must read.”
Steve Rowland (Record Producer/Author)

“I LOVED YOUR BOOK!! Fantastic stuff !!!You rock !!”
Clarice Assad (award winning composer/pianist)

“This book is written by one of the best musicologists in the business. Dr. Richard Niles has interviewed many of the greats of the music world and he gets so much out of his subjects. Niles is one of the most respected arranger/orchestrators and someone that excels in every field of music. This is worth shelf space in your library, the kind of journalism missing in a lot of Q&A between writer and Artist. You’ll want to browse it again and again. I could not put this book down.”





Read Richard Niles’ review of Pat Metheny’s “Orchestrion” concert


Richard Niles has written articles for Making Music, Berklee Today (BT), The Scream Online and London Jazz.


BBC Radio 2 has more listeners than any station in Britain. Niles began broadcasting for the BBC writing and hosting the series Jazz Notes and Adventures in Jazz in 1996. Since then he has created, written, produced and hosted the following series of acclaimed radio programs:

1998- 2003 : New Jazz Standards – Nominated for the Sony Award in Broadcasting
One hour magazine series featuring recordings, in-depth interviews and live music (produced by Niles and recorded in his Nucool Studio, London) from contemporary jazz greats including Bob James, The Yellowjackets, Hiromi, Danilo Perez, Wayne Shorter, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker and Gary Burton. Outside broadcasts have included Michael Brecker at the Brecon Jazz Festival.with Mike Stern

with Michael Brecker
with The Yellowjackets and Dave Love

“New Jazz Standards is a jazz landmark…maverick yet authoritative… Richard Niles shows it is perfectly possible to have a scholarly appreciation of what makes music sound good allied to a wicked sense of humour.”
Gillian Reynolds, The Daily Telegraph

2001 : The Arrangers – Nominated for the Sony Award in Broadcasting
Half hour documentaries on the work of many influential arrangers such as Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Esquviel, Robert Farnon, Neal Hefti and Quincy Jones.with Maria Schnieder

 2002 :  Upfront with Richard Niles
Documentary series about the singers who made their names with big bandleaders such as Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey, Mel Tormé & Artie Shaw…with legendary producer Jerry Wexler

2003 : Richard Niles’ History of Pop Arranging
7 half-hour documentaries – the first in any media to explore the arrangers behind the greatest hits of the last 50 years featuring in-depth interviews with unsung heroes such as David Van DePitte (What’s Goin’ On), Arif Mardin (Atlantic Records, Chaka Khan), Charlie Callelo (Laura Nyro) – and Jimmie Haskell (Simon & Garfunkel)  and the legendary producer Jerry Wexler.

with Jeremy Lubbock

with Jimmie Haskell

with Composer/Arranger Michael Gibbs

with H.B. Barnum

with Richard Carpenter

2003 : Manhattan – the most musical island on earth
Documentary series exploring Manhattan’s influence on music of the 20th Century – interviews with Arif Mardin, Al Kooper, Neil Sedaka, Debbie Harry, John Cale, The Beastie Boys…)
“…when you are talking musical pedagogy, Richard Niles is the daddy. His series on the great music arrangers was one of my faves and now the best informed man in pop takes us on a two-part aural stroll around Manhattan.”
Chris Campling – The Times

 with producer/arranger Arif Mardin

2004 : Inside Improvisation
4 half-hour documentaries explaining improvisation to non-musicians and musicians alike. Improvisers including Pat Metheny, Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson, Gary Burton, Randy Brecker, Maria Schnieder, Paquito D’Rivera and Martin Taylor demonstrate their concepts and techniques on their instruments.with Marc Johnson and Eliane Eliaswith Level 42 singer & bassist Mark King

with Japanese virtuoso HIROMI and her band

“Niles is one of those people whose projects can be recommended without hesitation.” Eye Magazine – Radio Choice

“Niles pushes ear and imagination to encompass the workings of other people’s minds – a host of musician’s techniques.” Gillian Reynolds, The Daily Telegraph

“One of pop’s top arrangers… not only does (Niles) know what he’s talking about, he imparts his knowledge with clarity and certainty.” The Timeswith actor and bass player Gary Sinise

2007 : Pat Metheny Bright Size Life Three 30-minute programs – a unique consideration of the significance of Metheny’s career in the form of in-depth interviews with Metheny and some of his closest collaborators including Gary Burton, Jack DeJohnette and Lyle Mays.

with Lyle Mays

What Is Melody? Three 30-minute programs with the participation of the Bee Gees, Nickleback, Greg Phillinganes, Bob James

2008 : Faith In An Elevator
Three 30-minute programs on composer arranger Percy Faith. Contributors include composer/arrangers John Altman & Nick Ingman with bassist Richard Jones from The Feeling. Current pop artists KT Tunstall, Amy McDonald, Richard Hawley and Colin McIntyre submit their songs to be arranged by Niles in the Faith style.
“One of pop’s top arrangers… not only does Niles know what he’s talking about, he imparts his knowledge with clarity and certainty.” The Times

POLYMETRICS – for non-drummers 
by Dr. Richard Niles & Gary O’Toole 

To be published by Jazzwise in 2013

“In this book, Richard Niles and Gary O’Toole use their immense experience and practical music knowledge to explore the boundaries of rhythmic improvisation and composition in a disarming and inspiring way that, as the best musical aids do, serves as an exciting springboard for the musician to go on and find his or her way through this fascinating subject.”

Gwilym Simcock Winner 2007 “Jazz Musician of the Year” Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Almost as soon as they start studying, drummers learn how to play 2 meters at the same time (poly-metric). This book is for all us non-drummers. Gary O’Toole is a fabulous drummer. I am not. He showed me the method and the polymetric rhythms and I put notes to those rhythms. Enjoy!

Niles & O’Toole demonstrate how to play 7 over 5

2 thoughts on “Broadcaster/Author

    • I don’t control the Berklee website. But if you want to see the examples, and have an important musical resource, buy the book!!!
      Thanks, Richard

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