Pat Martino. A guitarist's guitarist. A musician's musician. Jazz legend. OPEN ROAD is a documentary of jazz guitar legend - Pat Martino. It is the story of the difficult road back from a brain aneurysm that nearly killed and left him without memory or the ability to play his guitar.
Les Paul remarked upon hearing the 11 year old Martino, “that he was tempted to ask Pat for lessons.” George Benson upon first arriving in New York and hearing Pat at Small's Paradise said, “they came to a break in the music, and this guitar leaped out of nowhere, playing some of the most incredible lines I had ever heard. It had everything in it: great tone, great articulation and the whole crowd - it was a black audience - they went crazy. And I said to myself, 'If this (playing) is a sample of what New York is like, I'm getting out of here.'”
The road takes us to exciting performances at Ethel's Place and to Pat's comeback gig at New York's Bottom Line. Martino is captured giving a guitar lesson; working in the studio recording new music; philosphizing about music and life; providing an in-depth glimpse into the creative genius of this jazz guitar legend. OPEN ROAD covers the whole road: The complete Martino.
Also included is a bonus guitar lesson with the master and additional interviews with George Benson, Steve Khan and the late Michael Hedges and Emily Remler.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Review: The re-release of these films on DVD gives jazz guitar fans a glimpse at one of the all-time greats. Pat Martino's story is known well: surgery fora brain aneurysm in 1980 left him with no memory - and no ability to play guitar. The documentary lets folks in on the struggles he and his family endured when his health sidetracked his career.
We hear from Pat and others, especially his dad, how he was able to recover his guitar playing. The film also has glowing tributes from the likes of George Benson, the late, great Emily Remler, Les Paul, John Abercrombie, and more.
The extras include a lesson with Martino that could literally take a year to study and you'd still have more to discover. While his playing is great, it's almost as much fun to hear him talk about music as an extension of life as it is to hear his playing. – JH/Vintage Guitar
Review: "Once the performance begins, anything can happen." Even coming from a jazz guitarist as worshipped as Pat Martino, that is still a pretty provocative, even unnerving, concept. But it's all about the improvisation, where your mind races at excessive speed just to keep a few clicks ahead of repeatedly crafting moments of impressiveness on the fly. So when, in your mid-30s, a brain-erasing aneurysm slams on the brakes, deleting your memory along with your world-class chops, utter devastation typically results. Yet, astoundingly somehow, Martino rebuilt his chops - plus some extra. (Now 70, he is still dropping concert audiences' jaws.) You leave Phil Fallo's delving 1993 documentary "Open Road" an hour later as an absolute believer in Martino being as much a lucky dog as one deep cat. From conversations with everyone from his dad to fellow string eminences Les Paul and George Benson to esteemed producer/crate digger Michael Cuscina and avant saxophonist John Handy to, ultimately, Martino himself, all the tasty tales get told. Interviews galore weave between in-club gig footage and photographic stills, rolling back the decades to hitting the road as a teenager in organist Charles Earland's hearse right up past that miraculous comeback in the 1980s. All the intervening stages get hit along the way, too: chitlin' circuit tours with B-3 gurus "Groove" Holmes and "Brother" Jack, "Baiyina", symphonic composition, and toying with a Roland G-707 synth guitar (which, no doubt, elicited a chorus of gearhead oohs and aahs, especially back in the day). Thirty-four minutes of six-string Zen gets administered as bonus material in the form of Pat's heady, holistic guitar lesson. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag