New York, NY
August 3, 2017
With his usual understated performance posturing, Pat Martino mounted the stage on opening night at The Jazz Standard and proceeded to captivate the packed house with his signature mixture of hard swing and lyrical balladry. Alongside his familiar bandmates organist Pat Bianchi
and drummer Carmen Intorre
Martino segued from tune to tune in the opening set with nary a word to the audience. Such has been the approach that this legendary guitarist has continually utilized for over half a century in his remarkable career.
For Martino, unique mathematical relationships inherent in complex chord progressions have constituted the nexus of his improvisational stylings. His theories on the subject found in such textbooks he has written as Linear Expressions can truly be appreciated only by serious musicians. But his hard swinging performances have been enough to lure SRO layman crowds to his jazz recitals for decades.
The Jazz Standard is a providential room for Martino and with its combination of intimacy, excellent acoustics and equally excellent menu service has long been one of his Gotham favorites. At this performance Intorre's crashing ride cymbals occasionally muddied the sound, but during the ballads the room revealed its auditory splendor.
Highlights included the Charles Mingus
composition "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" with some especial lyricizing from Bianchi and a Wes Montgomery
Blues which, despite some rhythmical clams, flowed nicely.
Martino's unique career (interrupted by a brain aneurism causing serious memory loss) continues apace and years of improvisational wizardry are still the hallmark of his art.