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Jazz guitar legend Pat Martino @ Anthology, March 22

Club owner Howard Berkson and the folks at Anthology are going to bring one of the most important musicians in jazz history to San Diego next Thursday, March 22, when legendary guitarist Pat Martino takes the stage in a duo concert with 25-year-old piano phenomenon Eldar.

Martino began playing the instrument at the age of 12 and immediately developed prodigious skills. In his home town of Philadelphia, he studied under the aegis of Dennis Sandole, who had another student at the time by the name of John Coltrane, who used to buy the young Martino hot chocolates after his lessons.

He left school in the 10th grade to concentrate on music, and was even involved in the fledgling rock and roll scene with friends like Bobby Rydell and Bobby Darin.

After a stint with bandleader Lloyd Price, Martino moved to Harlem, where he became involved with organ groups, establishing associations with Charles Earland, Don Patterson, and "Brother" Jack McDuff, replacing a young George Benson.

During this time, Martino integrated elements of bebop, hard bop, soul-jazz, and the modal experiments of John Coltrane into a personal improvising aesthetic that was given its final ingredient by the powerhouse styling of Wes Montgomery, who took the guitarist under his wing.

Martino took the warm sound of Montgomery and fused it with a remarkably fluent sense of chromatic line development that sounded more like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane coming out of the guitar. His sound is also drenched with the blues, something that he understands on a visceral level, and his use of chromatic repetitions is unparalleled on the instrument.

In the 1970s, the guitarist recorded several albums that defined the state of the instrument for decades to come. Consciousness, Exit, The Visit, and, especially Pat Martino Live, with its stellar version of "Sunny," are as good as it gets.

I first experienced Martino live in 1977, with his fusion experiment group, Joyous Lake, an underrated ensemble that had a heavy Weather Report vibe to it. That performance, and one that came a year later, this time in a duo with guitarist Bobby Rose, were life altering events to me. Martino's virtuosity is the kind that can take your head off, and I remember leaving those gigs thinking I had just seen the best guitar player in the world.

It all almost ended in 1980, when he suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm that required immediate surgery. When he awoke, he could remember nothing, not even recognizing his parents. After some intense years of struggle, listening to his old records helped him slowly rediscover playing music again, and in 1987, he recorded the aptly titled live record "The Return."

Despite further health scares, Martino has come back with a vengeance, releasing a slew of important discs, including "Live At Yoshi's," and, "Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery."

A few months back, he published his autobiography, Here & Now! which is a highly recommended "read" for anyone interested in the history of jazz guitar.

Anthology only seats about 250 people, and the tickets are going fast. This is a very rare opportunity to hear one of the best guitarists of our time.

Tickets range from $10-$25, $44 for booth seats.

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Club owner Howard Berkson and the folks at Anthology are going to bring one of the most important musicians in jazz history to San Diego next Thursday, March 22, when legendary guitarist Pat Martino takes the stage in a duo concert with 25-year-old piano phenomenon Eldar.

Martino began playing the instrument at the age of 12 and immediately developed prodigious skills. In his home town of Philadelphia, he studied under the aegis of Dennis Sandole, who had another student at the time by the name of John Coltrane, who used to buy the young Martino hot chocolates after his lessons.

He left school in the 10th grade to concentrate on music, and was even involved in the fledgling rock and roll scene with friends like Bobby Rydell and Bobby Darin.

After a stint with bandleader Lloyd Price, Martino moved to Harlem, where he became involved with organ groups, establishing associations with Charles Earland, Don Patterson, and "Brother" Jack McDuff, replacing a young George Benson.

During this time, Martino integrated elements of bebop, hard bop, soul-jazz, and the modal experiments of John Coltrane into a personal improvising aesthetic that was given its final ingredient by the powerhouse styling of Wes Montgomery, who took the guitarist under his wing.

Martino took the warm sound of Montgomery and fused it with a remarkably fluent sense of chromatic line development that sounded more like Charlie Parker or John Coltrane coming out of the guitar. His sound is also drenched with the blues, something that he understands on a visceral level, and his use of chromatic repetitions is unparalleled on the instrument.

In the 1970s, the guitarist recorded several albums that defined the state of the instrument for decades to come. Consciousness, Exit, The Visit, and, especially Pat Martino Live, with its stellar version of "Sunny," are as good as it gets.

I first experienced Martino live in 1977, with his fusion experiment group, Joyous Lake, an underrated ensemble that had a heavy Weather Report vibe to it. That performance, and one that came a year later, this time in a duo with guitarist Bobby Rose, were life altering events to me. Martino's virtuosity is the kind that can take your head off, and I remember leaving those gigs thinking I had just seen the best guitar player in the world.

It all almost ended in 1980, when he suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm that required immediate surgery. When he awoke, he could remember nothing, not even recognizing his parents. After some intense years of struggle, listening to his old records helped him slowly rediscover playing music again, and in 1987, he recorded the aptly titled live record "The Return."

Despite further health scares, Martino has come back with a vengeance, releasing a slew of important discs, including "Live At Yoshi's," and, "Remember: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery."

A few months back, he published his autobiography, Here & Now! which is a highly recommended "read" for anyone interested in the history of jazz guitar.

Anthology only seats about 250 people, and the tickets are going fast. This is a very rare opportunity to hear one of the best guitarists of our time.

Tickets range from $10-$25, $44 for booth seats.

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