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Pat Martino Trio at Lakeland Jazz Festival, Kirtland, OH Feb. 28, 2009

Matt Marshall By

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The heat kept rising as the three proved worthy of what Martino, in his clinic, cited as the calling card of all great artists: they 'amplify their own ecstasy.'
Pat Martino Trio
37th Annual Lakeland Jazz Festival
Lakeland Community College
Kirtland, Ohio
February 28, 2009

Representing the "Present" in the 37th Annual Lakeland Jazz Festival's Legends of Jazz Past-Present-Future program, guitarist Pat Martino turned in two blistering sets with his organ trio, February 28 at Lakeland Community College. Backed by the athletically aggressive work of Hammond B-3 player Tony Monaco and drummer Louis Tsamous, Martino ran through the quick, fluid, endlessly stretching lines his fans have come to expect yet continually marvel at.

Pat Martino

Throughout the construction of his solos, Martino displayed the innate dedication to detail and precision he said, in a pre-concert clinic, was his mark. His face deeply set with concentration, the master guitarist outlined chords with a milky pouring of notes that, even in their smooth stream, distinguished themselves from their neighbors with chest-expanding pops. A quick skip of triads up and down the guitar's neck then climaxed the rush of outlined figures before melting back into a flood of individual notes.

Martino's transition to comping was a natural one, with Monaco's huge, swirling tones escalating to the fore and his right hand tickling loose cyclical lines that bounced happily over the guitarist's chords. Sweating profusely by the end of the group's opening chorus, Monaco, as is his wont, operated in a fit of an hour-long orgasm. The almost obscene relationship he conducted with his organ sounded an ecstasy that rang throughout the hall. His body and head twirled, his mouth agape, as he increased the intensity with each new number. His playing would've killed a lesser man.



Louis Tsamous

Across the stage, Tsamous engaged in a Sisyphusian battle with the ever-mounting possibilities of rhythm and time. With his Bill Cowher-like chin projecting the constant agitation of his determined struggle, Tsamous lashed his Gretsch drum set as if it were a run-down mare. His left hand often fell back in a distinctive sweep below his waist, behind his back and up again. Yet despite the battle—the force of work contorting his figure—the drummer's polyrhythmic beat sounded neither strained nor out of place, but spread out an intricate netting beneath his compatriots' playing.

Whether thundering through Don Patterson's "Goin' to a Meetin'" or Sonny Rollins "Oleo" or melting into the bluesy bends of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," Martino and his organ trio never tempered their assault on the thermostat. The heat kept rising as the three proved worthy of what Martino, in his clinic, cited as the calling card of all great artists: they "amplify their own ecstasy."



Tony Monaco, Martino and Tsamous


Photo Credit

Matt Marshall


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