Pat Martino

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Pat Martino
Pat Martino.jpg
Photo by Tom Beetz
Background information
Birth name Pat Azzara
Born (1944-08-25) August 25, 1944 (age 72)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Jazz fusion, mainstream jazz, soul jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1959–present
Labels Prestige, Muse, Cobblestone, Warner Bros., 32 Jazz, Evidence, Mythos, Camden, Blue Note, HighNote
Pat Martino in Denmark (2015)
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson

Pat Martino (born August 25, 1944) is an Italian-American jazz guitarist and composer within the post-bop, fusion, mainstream jazz and soul jazz idioms. He is noted for his mathematical approach to the instrument (he has released textbooks such as Linear Expressions ) and advanced knowledge of music and jazz theory. Technically highly proficient, he plays with a brisk but loose picking style.


Martino was born Pat Azzara in South Philadelphia. He began playing professionally at the age of 15 after moving to New York City. He resided 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.[1] He would play at Smalls for six months of the year, and then in the summer play at the Club Harlem in Atlantic City.[2]

Martino played and recorded early in his career with musicians such as Willis Jackson and Eric Kloss. He also worked with jazz organists, including Charles Earland, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Jack McDuff, Tony Monaco, Don Patterson, Trudy Pitts, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ludwig, Bobby Pierce. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Martino made many recordings as a sideman and also under his own name.

In 1980, Martino underwent surgery as the result of a nearly fatal brain aneurysm. The surgery left him with amnesia, leaving him, among other things, without some memory of the guitar and his musical career. With the help of friends, computers, and his old recordings, he made a recovery,[3] and learned to play the guitar again.

Martino is married to Ayako Martino, whom he met in Kyoto, Japan, in 1993.[4] They live in Philadelphia.

The 1987 recording The Return marked Martino's return to music. Martino tours worldwide. He was awarded 2004 Guitar Player of the Year, Down Beat magazine's 2004 Reader's Poll. In 2006, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissued his album East! on Ultradisc UHR SACD.

Martino's album Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley (Highnote Records) was released on October 11, 2011, and hit No. 1 on the jazz charts in mid-November. The next Highnote Pat Martino release, Alone Together with Bobby Rose was released on August 14, 2012. Pat's newest CD We Are Together Again with Gil Goldstein on Warner Japan was released April 2013 (his first studio recording since 2006).

Musical Approach[edit]

His improvisation method, "Conversion to Minor", is often mistakenly thought to be based upon using exclusively minor systems for soloing. In fact, the system involves conceptualising chord progressions in terms of the relative minor chord/scale, but in practice this seems to be more a way for organising the fretboard, rather than justifying playing certain tones in terms of whether they are "correct" or not. Martino's lines contain chromatic notes outside any particular IIm7 chord that might be conceptualised 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".[5]



  1. ^ "Here and Now". J.W. Pepper. Accessed via YouTube. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "An Evening with Pat Martino". Dave Frank Master Class, accessed via YouTube, 1 hr 15. Retrieved 5 August 2016. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived December 4, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Brady, Shaun (August 2008). "Pat Martino". Jazz Times. Retrieved April 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Jazz Bulletin Board – View Single Post – Pat Martino". January 29, 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  6. ^ [2] Review of Young Guns album at

External links[edit]