“Pat Martino. A name that strikes anything from fear to sheer awe and reverence in musicians who know who this is. And what he's done and been through. And continues to go through. The name resonates a bridge between the true Jazz swing era through the organ trio groove and into the modern era and its (digital and electronic) resources of today.
A musical prodigy, Pat has always challenged himself...from his long and remarkable self recovery from amnesia brought on by a near fatal aneurysm to the ridiculously heavy string gauges and action he favors, yet nimbly maneuvers. One would think he simply sets unrealistic parameters for himself, but nothing keeps Martino sharper than these challenges themselves. He seemingly thrives on what would be their resistance to anyone else. Though known for his incredible technique but not reliant on it as an end, Pat radiates the dictum which Cecil Taylor has expressed, that: 'Technique is a weapon to do whatever must be done'. And no more or less: efficiency. Technique serves the music, the musician does not serve the instrument (nor his accumulated facility for its own sake). And Pat does not serve anything but the music and its potential for depth and unique beauty.
There are some artists who make us smile, rhythmically nod, dance, even feel, but few who elicit what Pat does...to think and to know. Know there is a purpose, a balance and a logic and logical structure to the universe as sensed through sonic vibrations over time: music. Soul, definition, a catalyst and key to life ...improvisation ...possibilities ...spread before us to peruse like rough gems happened upon in a Arabian flea market. The most unlikely beauty found among the funkiest of surroundings.” – Mike Brannon
Live At Ethel's Place was recorded in 1987. Along with Harvie Swartz on bass and Joey Barton on drums, Pat takes us on a wild roller coaster ride through breakneck tempos, sensitive ballads and smokey blues.
Titles include: Turnpike, Alastore, Do You Have A Name, Lord Zero, Each Of Your Daze and Slipback
Running Time: 95 minutes
Review: It is 1987 in Baltimore. Rightie Mike Boddicker is hurling for the Orioles inside Memorial Stadium, "Miami Vice" still reigns over Channel 2's Friday nights, and Hammerjacks just got infamously invaded by Guns N' Roses. Over on Cathedral Street, at Ethel's Place, Pat Martino is spinning heads of guitar fiends and neurologists alike. The South Philly native made the hop down I-95 as part of the comeback tour of a lifetime: Seven years earlier, a brain aneurysm and its corrective surgery cleanly erased his memory. Including the part where his world-class jazz chops resided. Gone was the fretsmanship with which the boy wonder bewildered Les Paul at age 11 and earned a slot in Charles Earland's organ outfit by 15. Gone were those gigs with Brother Jack McDuff and Sonny Stitt. 1968s psychedelic East-meets-Gibson-L5-CES. Nothing. No recollection. Yet after massive re-woodshedding, here is Martino back in the zone of his own, where rapid-fire precision teeters on the breaking point during the 16-minute race down "Turnpike," one of the new compositions unveiled that year of his miraculous return. The 18 bonus minutes of "Sortice" are more a languid pool of cool. And "Alastore" splits the difference with its alternating bouts of fire and ice. Sheets of blur-handed notes flood every available inch of space around bassist Harvie Swartz and drummer Joey Barton, who keeps the pots on constant boil, even relying on bare hands for the solo during "Slipback." You needn't understand the calculus of Martino's tritone charts or metaphysical use of minor scales over chords. You just know his custom Abe Rivera Scepter axe sounds explosively fast, immaculately precise, and drop-jaw amazing across a 95-minute definition of what a back-to-greatness performance sounds like. – Dennis Rozanski/Blues Rag