During the mid-1960’s jazz music was changing towards “fusion” and “soul jazz” and the idiom of most post-bop jazz quartets and quintets changed as well. Rock and soul music has dominating the clubs and on radio and jazz music as a whole was reflecting the mood and times of the generation and listeners.
Guitarists like Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Jim Hall were the masters at their game and created a voice and a distinctive technique style in their playing that gave way to the changes to what the 1960’s were to bring musically. The changing of the guard for jazz guitarists came when young and innovative musicians like Melvin Sparks, George Benson, and Pat Martino gave way to the new music trends that were part of the new jazz music taking shape.
2011 marks an important milestone for jazz great Pat Martino. In his many years as an accomplished jazz guitarist inventing the “Conversion to Minor” technique, Martino took time out to write his autobiography “Here and Now” with jazz writer and biographer Bill Milkowski. According to Pat, he believes the time was right to document and reflect on his many life experiences. “I felt it was time to document my life as a musician and hope readers understand my sense of purpose as a musician, teacher, and person.”
Born Pat Azzara on August 25th, 1944 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pat’s father was local musician and took him and exposed him to music at an early age. Being real close to the local music scene, his dad would take him to see jazz icons like Wes Montgomery which would leave a heavy impact on Pat musically. By the time he picked up the guitar at 12 years old he was studying with music teacher Dennis Sandole who’d also was the teacher to saxophonist John Coltrane. Trane would develop a friendship and over time they’d discuss music.
Martino hails both Wes Montgomery and Johnny Smith as his musical influences that inspired him to play the guitar.
Not out of high school, the young Martino was playing professionally with the likes of Lloyd Price, Slide Hampton, Red Holloway, Bobby Darin, Chubby Checker, and Bobby Rydell. He later moved to Harlem, New York where he was part of the new “soul jazz” sound that was shaping the country. Jazz units that used the organ trio as a way to incorporate both a soulful and smaller sound. In fact, Pat played with some of the most influential organ players in the history of jazz including Don Patterson, Brother Jack McDuff, and Charles Earland. Since he was 18, Pat has been a leader and has played all styles of jazz music.
In early 1980, Pat had undergone and experienced a series of aneurysms that left him without memory of his accomplishments as a guitarist. It took many years of therapy and rehabilitation to make his drastic comeback in music.
“Here and Now” is Pat’s recollection of his past, present, and future as musician. In addition to him writing his book, Pat’s first recording in well over a decade, “Live at Blue’s Alley,” will be released on the HighNote label sometime this fall.
Pat will be on the road this fall in support of both the new book and CD. For upcoming dates or to order “Here and Now,” please visit him on the web at patmartino.com.
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