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Pat Martino

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Pat Martino
Background information
Birth namePatrick Carmen Azzara
Born(1944-08-25)August 25, 1944[1]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedNovember 1, 2021(2021-11-01) (aged 77)
GenresJazz fusion, mainstream jazz, soul jazz
Years active1959–2017
LabelsPrestige, Warner Bros, Muse, Blue Note, HighNote,
Spouse(s)Ayako Asahi Martino (1997-2021)

Pat Martino (born Patrick Carmen Azzara;[2] August 25, 1944 – November 1, 2021) was an American jazz guitarist and composer. He has been cited as one of the greatest guitarists in jazz.[3]


Martino was born Patrick Carmen Azzara in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, to father Carmen "Mickey" Azzara (d. 1990) and mother Jean (née Orlando, d. 1989).[1] He was first exposed to jazz by his father, who sang in local clubs and briefly studied guitar.[4] Pat studied with renowned jazz teacher Dennis Sandole, and in his studio met other of Sandole's students; among them, John Coltrane, James Moody, McCoy Tyner and others. Martino began playing professionally at the age of 15 after moving to New York City. He lived for a period with Les Paul and began playing at jazz clubs such as Smalls Paradise. He later moved into a suite in the President Hotel on 48th Street. He played at Smalls for six months of the year, and played summers at the Club Harlem in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[5]

Pat Martino 2018

Martino played and recorded early in his career with Lloyd Price, Willis Jackson, and Eric Kloss. He also worked with jazz organists Charles Earland, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, Trudy Pitts, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ludwig, Ray Allen (Raymond Chenot) and Joey DeFrancesco.

Pat Martino and Ray Allen (Chenot)

In 1980, Martino suffered a hemorrhaged arteriovenous malformation that caused a "near-fatal seizure".[6] The resulting surgery, which removed part of his brain, left him with amnesia and no recollection or knowledge of his career or how to play the instrument that made him successful. He said he came out of surgery with complete forgetfulness, and had to learn to focus on the present rather than the past or the possible future. He had to completely re-learn how to play.[6][7]

He was subsequently chosen as Guitar Player of the Year in the Down Beat magazine Readers' Poll of 2004. In 2006, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissued his album East! on Ultradisc UHR SACD.

In 2017, he created a series of educational videos, A Study of the Opposites and How They Manifest on the Guitar.[8]

Musical approach[edit]

Martino said, "There are elements within an instrument’s architecture that initiate a continuous source of valuable information. For the guitar, there are two. The first is the major third interval, and the second is the minor third interval. Once we view their repetitive information, they begin to appear as a series of automatic functions."[9]

Martino's lines contain chromatic links outside any particular IIm7 chord that might be conceptualized over a chord progression, even in the examples he provides in his books and instructional videos. On his bulletin board he has stated that he formulated the system more as a way to explain his playing rather than as something to use to create music. In his own words, "Although the analysis of some of my recorded solos have been referred to as modal, personally I've never operated in that way. I've always depended upon my own melodic instinct, instead of scale-like formulas."[10]

Personal life[edit]

Martino was married to Ayako Asahi Martino; they met in Tokyo, Japan in 1995.[11] Due to a chronic respiratory disorder, he stopped performing in 2018. He died on November 1, 2021, at the age of 77.[12][13]

Awards and honors[edit]

Martino in Denmark, 2015
  • 1995 Mellon Jazz Festival dedicated in honor[14]
  • 1996 Philadelphia Alliance Walk of Fame Award[15]
  • 1997 National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Songs from the Heart Award[16]
  • 2002 Grammy Award nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Live at Yoshi's, and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo on "All Blues"[17]
  • 2002 National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences 2nd Annual Heroes Award[18]
  • 2003 Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Think Tank, and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo on "Africa"[19]
  • 2004 Guitar Player of the Year, DownBeat Magazine's 2004 Readers' Poll [20]
  • 2016 Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes and his wife Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes presented Pat Martino with the Jazz Legacy Award[21]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Eric Alexander

With Willis Jackson

With Eric Kloss

With Jack McDuff

With Charles McPherson

With Don Patterson

With Trudy Pitts

With others


  • Martino, Pat; Milkowski, Bill (2011). Here and Now! The Autobiography of Pat Martino. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-1617130274.


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1631/2. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Silbergleit, Paul (November 1, 2015). 25 Great Jazz Guitar Solos: Transcriptions * Lessons * Bios * Photos. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1-4950-5541-6.
  3. ^ "Pat Martino Musician". allaboutjazz.com. November 28, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  4. ^ "Biography".
  5. ^ Spatz, David (October 11, 2017). "Jazz festival to bring legends like Pat Martino to Somers Point". The Press of Atlantic City.
  6. ^ a b Gallagher, Brian (January 8, 2015). "Brain Damage Saved His Music". Nautilus. ISSN 2372-1766.
  7. ^ "Jazz Guitar After Brain Damage". Discover. October 6, 2013. ISSN 0274-7529.
  8. ^ "Pat Martino: A Study of the Opposites and How They Manifest on the Guitar". Tagapublishing.com. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  9. ^ Martino, Pat (February 15, 2011). "Inside Jazz: Augmented and Diminished Forms". Premierguitar.com. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Jazz Bulletin Board – View Single Post – Pat Martino". Forums.allaboutjazz.com. January 29, 2010. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Brady, Shaun (August 2008). "Pat Martino". Jazz Times. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  12. ^ DeLuca, Dan (November 2021). "Pat Martino, Philly jazz guitar great, has died". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  13. ^ Guitar master Pat Martino has died
  14. ^ "Pat Martino Trio". Jazzalley.com. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  15. ^ "Biography". Patmartino.com.
  16. ^ "Jazz great Pat Martino to play two nights at Chris' Jazz Cafe" – via PressReader.
  17. ^ "Complete List Of Grammy Nominees". Cbsnews.com. January 4, 2002.
  18. ^ "Pat Martino Organ Trio featuring Pat Bianchi and Carmen Intorre Jr". Theiridium.com.
  19. ^ "Grammy Award Winners". The New York Times. Associated Press.
  20. ^ Schoof, Dustin (May 15, 2014). "Pat Martino discusses relearning to play guitar after a near-fatal brain aneurysm left him with amnesia". The Express-Times.
  21. ^ Arlene Edmonds (June 9, 2023). "Jazz Legacy Awards honors Northwest Philadelphia jazz artists". Montgomerynews.com.
  22. ^ Taylor, Derek (February 13, 2014). "Review of Young Guns". Dustedmagazine.tumblr.com.
  23. ^ "Prestige Records Catalog: 7500 series". www.jazzdisco.org. Retrieved December 26, 2022.

Other sources[edit]

  • Marshall, Wolf (Winter 1991) Pat Martino. Guitar Extra Volume 1 No. 4.
  • Marshall, Wolf (November 2005) Pat Martino: Legend, Treasure, Inspiration. Vintage Guitar Magazine.

External links[edit]