Pat Martino, jazz guitarist extraordinaire, passed away recently at the age of 77. Pat started out in the Philadelphia jazz scene, playing in the soul jazz organ combos of Charles Earland, Don Patterson and Jack McDuff. You can certainly hear these roots in his early records like his 1967 debut for Prestige, El Hombre. But Martino’s music always had an exploratory side as shown by his 1968 record Baiyina (The Clear Evidence) which incorporated elements of Indian classical music and by the mid-’70s, Martino had begun delving into jazz fusion with records such as Starbright and Joyous Lake.
I first became aware of Pat Martino when Guitar Player magazine did a feature review of his 1972 record Live! which featured his killer version of the pop tune Sunny. I was really getting into guitar at this time and this just blew my mind as it did to many other guitar geeks at the time. Martino’s playing displayed incredible technique but also had a an amazing clarity to it even at fast tempos. Here just check it out. I’ll wait . . . .
Pat Martino – Sunny
Pat Martino – Impressions
Pat Martino – Blue Bossa
Suddenly, in 1980, Pat Martino undergoes emergency neurosurgery for a brain aneurysm that saved his life but also damaged his memory. Martino then spent several years relearning the instrument by listening back to his own recordings while also dealing with issues of depression and struggling with the grueling process of recovering his motor skills. Despite all this he reemerged in 1987 with The Return, displaying miraculously undiminished chops. Martino continued to perform and record for the next three decades, often playing in hard bop or organ combo settings reminiscent of his early career,
Wow . . .
R.I.P. Pat Martino
Pat Martino – Oleo
Recorded – January 1, 2002 – Teatro Mancinelli, Orvieto, Italy
Pat Martino – Hipsippy Blues
Pat Martino Quartet – Midnight Special (Live at Blues Alley)
Pat Martino Quartet – Lean Years (Live at Blues Alley)
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