Pat Martino Quartet

Released in 2011

JazzWise Five-Star Review




Long before he became a world renowned jazz virtuoso, guitarist Pat Martino was a sideman in small combos that prominently featured the Hammond B-3 organ. He’s never lost his affection for that particular group dynamic, nor his quiet flair for moving back and forth between the roles of supporting player and compelling soloist.  Here, recorded live at Blues Alley with an all-star band, Martino sounds perfectly content enhancing the rhythm section’s soulful thrust while, at the same time, his post-bop, minor mode improvising is sleek and precise, never busy, and his use of sliding octaves colorfully underscored his stylistic ties to guitar great Wes Montgomery.  With the full-throated tenor sax of Eric Alexander, Jeff “Tain” Watts propelling the band with his usual drive and Tony Monaco keeping the B-3 pedals to the metal, Undeniable promises to be one of 2011’s most exciting jazz releases.

Track Listing:

1. Lean Years (Pat Azzara) 7:37

2. Inside Out (Pat Azzara) 8:32

3. Goin’ to a Meeting (Pat Azzara) 10:00

4. Double Play (Pat Azzara) 8:03

5. Midnight Special (Pat Azzara) 8:45

6. ‘Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk) 7:52

7. Side Effect (Pat Azzara) 8:10


Pat Martino: guitar

Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone

Tony Monaco: organ

Jeff “Tain” Watts: drums

Recorded Live 26-28 June, 2009, at Blues Alley, Washington, DC

Produced by Pat Martino & Joseph Donofrio

Executive Producer: Darryl J. Brodzinski

Recorded by Kirk Yano

Assistant Engineer: Dr. Richard Cann

Mixed by Kirk Yano

Mastered by Jay France

Photography & Design by Michael G. Stewart


Fifty years ago, when he was a skinny, hollow-cheeked 17-year-old newcomer in Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson’s Harlem-based combo, Pat Martino was nicknamed “The Kid”. Today he’s an elder statesman with the distinguished grey locks of a fine-art dealer or diplomat, but still very much the kiddy as far as funky, hard-swinging neo-bop guitar is concerned. (It just dawned on me that Jackson’s own nickname must have described how hard that big-toned tenorman and his band were known to swing.) Martino is also a remarkable survivor, still keeping top company after a long life, a busy career and a frightening brush with death from a brain aneurysm, after which he reportedly had to relearn the guitar from scratch. Recorded live with a brilliant all-star group, this is one of his best recordings for years. Eric Alexander, my favourite straightahead tenorist, makes a fine choice for his group, as does drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, a deep-seated groover for whom the swing is always the thing. Monaco comps urgently and solos with all the laidback heat of the great soul organists, and all are team players, Alexander packing his solos with interesting ideas yet never outmuscling the boss, who leads from the front. Even now, Martino has no rivals for maintaining a soulful and consistently flowing line, fast and furious when he wants to be, rock-steady and repetitive when he hits a particularly meaty phrase and senses the chance to draw some appreciative yells from the crowd. The soulful, boppish originals are all his, and all sound a joy to play. Martino fans considering this purchase should not hesitate.

Jack Massarik (Jazzwise)