67 Recommend It!

Pat Martino Quartet: Undeniable (2012)

By Published: | 6,036 views
Pat Martino Quartet: Undeniable Learning to play guitar once is hard enough. Having to do it twice is truly mind-boggling. Pat Martino
Pat Martino
Pat Martino
b.1944
guitar
, who has done that and more during a career with more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie novel, has vanquished adversity time and again and remains, at age sixty-seven, one of the world's preeminent jazz guitarists. This point of view is Undeniable on Martino's latest album, recorded live in June 2009 with his working group at Blues Alley in Washington, DC.

That Martino is playing at all is close to a miracle, as surgery for a brain aneurysm in the early '80s saved his life but robbed him of his memory. The one-time wunderkind went back to the drawing board, relearned how to play his chosen instrument from scratch, and returned to the recording studio in 1987 to produce his first "post-operative" album, The Return (Muse Records, 1994). Martino has stayed active ever since, returning to his roots with an organ-based group that mirrors his early successes with such legendary lions of the Hammond B-3 as Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
Jack McDuff
1926 - 2001
organ, Hammond B3
, Don Patterson
Don Patterson
Don Patterson
1936 - 1988
organ, Hammond B3
and Trudy Pitts
Trudy Pitts
Trudy Pitts
1932 - 2010
organ, Hammond B3
(who's featured on Martino's first album as a leader, El Hombre [OJC, 1967]).

The B-3 maestro on this date is Tony Monaco
Tony Monaco
Tony Monaco
b.1959
organ, Hammond B3
, whose soulful declamations emphatically complement Martino's bluesy peregrinations. They share the bandstand with the always-inventive tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander
Eric Alexander
b.1968
sax, tenor
, who's never met a groove he couldn't master, and the versatile drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts
Jeff
Jeff "Tain" Watts
b.1960
drums
, who sizes up the group's disparate parts and welds them securely together. The program consists of half a dozen Martino originals and Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's venerable "'Round Midnight," on which Martino's guitar has the solo spotlight to itself. The blues predominates, as might be envisioned at a venue named Blues Alley, with everyone down and dirty on "Lean Years," "Goin' to a Meeting," "Double Play," and Midnight Special." There's an easy swing to the other numbers, "Inside Out" (where Martino's guitar and Alexander's tenor open with a charming unison riff) and "Side Effect," an effective finale that features more of Martino's incomparable ad-libbing and yet another incisive statement by Alexander.

For a live recording, sound and balance are exemplary and the audience is responsive but never intrusive. What is most Undeniable, however, is that Martino remains at the top of his game and leads a quartet that can stand its ground with anyone.


Track Listing: Lean Years; Inside Out; Goin’ to a Meeting; Double Play; Midnight Special; ‘Round Midnight; Side Effect.

Personnel: Pat Martino: guitar; Eric Alexander: tenor sax; Tony Monaco: organ; Jeff “Tain” Watts: drums.

Record Label: HighNote Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus

Weekly Giveaways

Peter Lerner

Peter Lerner

About | Enter

Jamie Saft

Jamie Saft

About | Enter

Sun Trio

Sun Trio

About | Enter

Paul Bley

Paul Bley

About | Enter

Sponsor: Nonesuch Records