69

Pat Martino Quartet: Undeniable

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Pat Martino Quartet: Undeniable Learning to play guitar once is hard enough. Having to do it twice is truly mind-boggling. Pat Martino, 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, Don Patterson and Trudy Pitts (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, whose soulful declamations emphatically complement Martino's bluesy peregrinations. They share the bandstand with the always-inventive tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, who's never met a groove he couldn't master, and the versatile drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts, 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'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.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: HighNote Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Colosseum Live" CD/LP/Track Review Colosseum Live
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "The Music of Enrico Pieranunzi" CD/LP/Track Review The Music of Enrico Pieranunzi
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 23, 2016
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "I Just Did Say Something" CD/LP/Track Review I Just Did Say Something
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 27, 2016
Read "Secular Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Secular Hymns
by John Eyles
Published: September 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!