Each year the Alternative Guitar Summit, led by Joel Harrison, presents a concert to honor a living jazz composer/guitarist. That wasn't possible in 2021, however, as venues in and around New York City were shuttered tight by the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, it was clear that the chosen honoree, the great Pat Martino, was gravely ill and might not have another year to live. With that in mind, members of the Summit took their guitars straight to a studio to record the tribute, live-streaming their performances so that Martino and his wife could see, hear and appreciate them. The recording was completed in October 2021; Martino passed away on November 1.
As guitar enthusiasts surely know, Pat Martino had not one but two equally successful careers at the top of his game. The first was ended in 1980 by a near-fatal brain aneurysm that robbed Martino of his memory, forcing him to relearn not only his past life but how to play the guitar again. "I had to start from Square 1," he said later. But start he did, and owing to his resilience and determination was performing again by the mid-1980s, and by 1987 had released a new album. During his rewarding careers, Martino proved he was not only a virtuosic player but a superb composer as well, a fact that becomes crystal clear as this fond remembrance unfolds. The melodies are consistently engaging, the rhythms crisp and colorful, the performers earnest and on point.
It's impossible to choose a favorite number, as each one has innumerable charms to admire. The same is true of the players, whether solo or in tandem, and with or without a rhythm section. Rosenwinkel even brought his own, overdubbing himself on bass and drums. For those who love guitars in general and Pat Martino in particular, it doesn't get much better than this. Stay tuned, Harrison writes, for Volume 2.
Inside Out; Black Glass; Line Games; Willow; Noshufuru; Lament; On the Stairs; Joyous
Lake; Country Road.
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